Diagnosing ADHD in detox?

fear_false_evidence_appearing_realUnreal. Someone’s got an awful lot of faith in their diagnostic skills. Diagnosing ADHD with addicts in a detox unit? Really?

And, now that it’s published, it’s “evidence”.

Rates of undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in London drug and alcohol detoxification units

Background

ADHD is a common childhood onset mental health disorder that persists into adulthood in two-thirds of cases. One of the most prevalent and impairing comorbidities of ADHD in adults are substance use disorders. We estimate rates of ADHD in patients with substance abuse disorders and delineate impairment in the co-morbid group.

Method

Screening for ADHD followed by a research diagnostic interview in people attending in-patient drug and alcohol detoxification units.

Results

We estimated prevalence of undiagnosed ADHD within substance use disorder in-patients in South London around 12%. Those individuals with substance use disorders and ADHD had significantly higher self-rated impairments across several domains of daily life; and higher rates of substance abuse and alcohol consumption, suicide attempts, and depression recorded in their case records.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates the high rates of untreated ADHD within substance use disorder populations and the association of ADHD in such patients with greater levels of impairment. These are likely to be a source of additional impairment to patients and represent an increased burden on clinical services.

3 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Policy, Research

3 responses to “Diagnosing ADHD in detox?

  1. I have severe ADHD. I went to an ADHD conference. The number of addicts I met there was astounding. And that was only the people who talked about it. I truly believe there is a correlation.

  2. That may well be, but the idea of trying to diagnose addicts still in detox is pretty troubling.

  3. Pingback: My Opinion on the Substance Abuse/ Mental Illness Connection « Living a Very Different Life