The link between ADHD and smoking

Teens and adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to smoke and become nicotine dependent than their peers without ADHD.Compared with the general population, they are also more likely to start smoking at an earlier age, and it is more difficult to successfully quit smoking. This is obviously a public health problem, because regular use of cigarettes can bring many negative health consequences. In addition, for many people, smoking may be a way to take drugs.

People with ADHD smoking

There are many factors that seem to contribute to this risk of smoking/tobacco use in people with ADHD. Genetics may play an important role. Both ADHD and smoking are highly inherited.

Research has identified many similar genetic markers associated with ADHD and smoking.These findings indicate that there are common neurobiological factors that may contribute to the development of ADHD and the risk of a person using tobacco.

Studies examining the relationship between genes, smoking and ADHD have shown that ADHD symptoms interact with genes to increase the risk of smoking. In addition, exposure to smoking in the uterus may interact with genes to increase the risk of ADHD.

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The problem of impulse control can also explain why more adolescents and adults with ADHD are more likely to develop dangerous habits such as smoking. ADHD can make it more difficult for people to clearly look into the future and consider the negative health consequences of current behavior.

Although we do not fully understand all the relevant mechanisms, neurobiological and behavioral factors seem to be responsible for the increased smoking rates among adolescents and adults with ADHD.Family members and peers exposed to smoking and other social influences can also increase the risk of smoking.

Nicotine and self-medication

Nicotine is a known central nervous system stimulant that seems to act on the brain in a similar way to the psychostimulants most commonly used to treat ADHD-methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine.

For some people, the nicotine in cigarettes (the main addictive substance in tobacco) can be used as a form of self-medicine to treat the symptoms of ADHD.

Multiple studies have found that nicotine can improve concentration.

Dr. Scott Kollins, associate professor of psychiatry and medical psychology at Duke University School of Medicine, wrote: “Nicotine has a beneficial effect on a range of processes known to be disrupted in ADHD patients, including attention, inhibitory control, and working memory.” and The leader of the Duke ADHD project. ”

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“Therefore, it is often suggested that people with ADHD are at higher risk of smoking due to the beneficial effects of nicotine on a series of cognitive processes.”

Nicotine may help some smokers with ADHD to compensate for their low levels of concentration, arousal and concentration. More research is needed in this area to fully understand the effects of nicotine on ADHD symptoms and how this may increase the risk of smoking in adolescents and adults with ADHD.

Reduce the risk of smoking

We know that the smoking rate of ADHD patients is significantly higher than that of non-ADHD peers. It is also suspected that smoking in people with ADHD may be related to self-medication for ADHD symptoms.Therefore, early identification and treatment of ADHD may completely prevent smoking.

Studies have shown that the treatment of ADHD does help reduce the risk of smoking in ADHD teenagers.In a report, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted a two-year prospective clinical trial of extended-release methylphenidate for the prevention of smoking among adolescents.

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They compared ADHD clinical trial subjects who received extended-release methylphenidate (Ritalin) with samples of “naturalistic” adolescent ADHD subjects (some of which were receiving stimulants) and adolescents without ADHD. At the end of the study, the smoking rate of ADHD subjects who received stimulant therapy was significantly lower than that of ADHD subjects who did not receive stimulant therapy. There was no difference between ADHD subjects who received stimulant therapy and non-ADHD subjects. Significant differences.

The researchers said: “Although it is considered preliminary before replication in future randomized clinical trials, the results of this single-point, open-label study suggest that stimulant therapy may help reduce the risk of smoking in ADHD youths.” If confirmed, this discovery will have a major clinical and public health impact.”

Future research needs to help us better understand the link between ADHD and smoking in order to develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies, especially targeted prevention programs for ADHD teenagers.