ADHD and cocaine addiction are more linked than you may expect. But how are ADHD and cocaine linked, and what can you do if you’re struggling with either of these difficult disorders? Promises drug addiction treatment centers are here to help—call our team today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about our comprehensive treatment options.
ADHD, short for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a common mental health challenge that affects millions of people in the United States alone. In fact, ADHD has a number of symptoms, including:
- Inability to focus on your tasks
- Struggle sitting still
- Forgetting important events
- Impulsive behaviors
- Poor organizational skills
ADHD falls into three main subtypes: primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive, or combined. Depending on the subtype, people may deal with only certain symptoms or all of them at once.
But there are other consequences of ADHD outside of the symptoms. Many people with ADHD experience depression, anxiety, trouble at work, or risky substance use behaviors. Often, this substance use is an attempt to manage the symptoms of ADHD, though it can come with its own set of consequences.
Understanding Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction is a severe substance use disorder. When people develop an addiction, they lose the ability to stop their cocaine use on their own. They may experience debilitating physical withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop using cocaine, invasive cocaine cravings, and a loss of interest in activities outside of cocaine use.
But while people may not be able to stop using cocaine on their own, there are evidence-based treatment methods that can help people recover. Working with a substance use treatment center can help people overcome the difficult first steps of recovery and teach them the skills necessary for a lifetime of sobriety.
How Are ADHD and Cocaine Linked?
These two problems may seem entirely disconnected, but there is a well-known overlap between people who have ADHD and those with cocaine addictions. In substance use treatment, this is referred to as a co-occurring disorder, which means that people have two mental health challenges.
Understanding why so many people with ADHD turn to cocaine use requires looking at how these disorders affect the brain. In people with ADHD, scientists have observed a lowered baseline level of dopamine production—the neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of reward. Without sufficient levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain, it’s difficult for people to stay on task or remember important events.
Unsurprisingly, cocaine use has a direct impact on dopamine in the brain as well. Cocaine blocks the removal of dopamine from the synapses—the spaces between brain cells. By limiting your brain’s ability to remove this neurotransmitter, the brain becomes flooded with dopamine.
This is what makes cocaine so addictive. However, it also provides short-term relief for people who are living with the symptoms of ADHD. People with ADHD may find that cocaine use helps them focus, calm down, or be more productive. The short-term benefits can quickly lead people to increase their cocaine use over time.
But the benefits you may feel when you first use cocaine quickly turn to long-term consequences. Addiction can lead to several negative physical and mental health effects. As a result, most people will need professional addiction treatment to recover.
Get Started with Treatment for ADHD and Cocaine Addiction at Promises
At Promises, our team has extensive experience helping people overcome both the symptoms of ADHD and cocaine addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with a cocaine use disorder, reach out to our team by calling 844.875.5609.
You can finally achieve a lasting recovery with true dual-diagnosis care for co-occurring disorders, a compassionate and professional team of licensed mental health clinicians, and a safe and supportive environment.