ADHD: Dual Diagnosis, or a Gateway, Gateway Disorder?

ADHD is a psychiatric disorder that is treated, often, with cognitive enhancing stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin. There’s been controversy for a long time around these medications opening the door for a teenager to experiment with alcohol and tobacco, chemical substances often considered “gateway drugs”. So is ADHD a kind of gateway disorder, opening up a desire in teens for more and different drugs? Studies show the opposite. They suggest that if a kid is treated for their disorder, they are substantially less likely to engage in dangerous substance abuse as teenagers.

Dual Diagnosis

So no, ADHD is not some kind of gateway, gateway disorder, leading it’s victim from prescription treatment to the depths of addiction. No, getting treatment for your disorder probably will not throw you into deeper substance abuse or drug and alcohol addiction. Quite the contrary, if you suspect you may suffer from ADHD and you are also suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, treating both afflictions with a sense of true and equal priority is important. With a dual diagnosis the ADHD and the substance addiction feed one another. Because it’s not clear which is the more powerful factor, likely because that is a situational variable, if you don’t treat both problems, recovery is not as likely to be successful.

What Does Treatment Look Like?

When you attend our medical detox centers in Florida, you’ll have access to our South Florida drug rehab programs that include a substantial element of mental health rehab. In order to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD, at FHE Health you may undergo tests such as brain imaging and genetic blood testing to make a biological determination of whether you do indeed have a dual diagnosis of drug or alcohol addiction and ADHD.

With your dual diagnosis, now you know that you’ll need to treat both disorders both the ADHD as well as the chemical dependency and addiction.


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