Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dual disorders. Educational needs for an underdiagnosed condition

ArticleinInternational journal of adolescent medicine and health 25(3):1-13 · July 2013with46 Reads
DOI: 10.1515/ijamh-2013-0057 · Source: PubMed

Abstract A wide range of comorbid psychiatric disorders overlap with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) across the life span. There is a robust and complex link between ADHD and substance use disorders (SUD). The aim of this report was to review the neurobiological and other vulnerability factors explaining the comorbidity of ADHD and an addictive disorder, as well as the key aspects of the assessment and diagnosis of dually diagnosed ADHD patients. A comprehensive and systematic search of relevant databases (PubMed, Embase, and PsychINFO) was conducted to identify studies published in peer-reviewed journals until July 31, 2012, with the aim of exploring the association of ADHD and SUD with postgraduate training and residency education. Across the life span, ADHD is associated with significant impairment and comorbidity. Data from epidemiological, clinical and epidemiological studies show a very solid link between ADHD and SUD. Therefore, it is very important to carefully and systematically assess for any substance use in patients with suspected ADHD coming to initial assessment, and vice versa. While there are various valid and reliable rating and screening scales, diagnosis cannot solely rely on any of the instruments available for both SUD and ADHD in adult patients with dual pathology. The most important and effective tool in the assessment of dually diagnosed patients with ADHD and SUD is a full and comprehensive clinical and psychosocial assessment. Hence, it is essential to actively incorporate training opportunities on the assessment, diagnosis, and management of adult ADHD and dually diagnosed ADHD patients during postgraduate education residency or specialist training.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: The primary aim of this study was to investigate how adult individuals with ADHD perceive the role of alcohol and drugs in their lives. A secondary aim was to identify factors that those individuals consider useful in the treatment and prevention of co-occurring ADHD and substance use disorders (SUDs). Method: A qualitative interview study with ADHD outpatients (n = 14) at a psychiatric clinic. Data were analyzed based on pre-defined areas of interest using a deductive content analysis method. Results: The yearning for belongingness was identified as an important driving force underlying substance use. The participants felt that alcohol/drugs helped them being normal and thus respected and accepted. Early diagnosis of ADHD was perceived essential to avoid SUD. Conclusion: Adults with ADHD may have strong rational and emotional reasons for the use of alcohol and drugs. When planning for the treatment of adult ADHD, investigation of personal reasons for alcohol/drug use deserves a place.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Attention Disorders
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The α 2-adrenergic receptor agonist guanfacine, in its extended-release formulation (GXR), is the most recent nonstimulant medication approved in several countries for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as monotherapy and as adjunctive pharmacotherapy to stimulants in children and adolescents. The present paper aims to review comprehensively and critically the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics and the published evidence on the efficacy and safety profile of GXR in the treatment of ADHD. A comprehensive search of relevant databases (PubMed, Embase, and PsycInfo) was conducted to identify studies published in peer-reviewed journals until January 15, 2015. Though the precise mechanism of action of guanfacine in the treatment of ADHD is not fully understood, it is thought to act directly by enhancing noradrenaline functioning via α 2A-adrenoceptors in the prefrontal cortex. Weight-adjusted doses should be used, with a dosing regime on a milligram per kilogram basis, starting at doses in the range 0.05–0.08 mg/kg/day, up to 0.12 mg/ kg/day. As evidenced in short-term randomized controlled trials and in long-term open-label extension studies, GXR has been shown to be effective as monotherapy in the treatment of ADHD. Furthermore, GXR has also been found to be effective as adjunctive therapy to stimulant medications in patients with suboptimal responses to stimulants. Many of the adverse reactions associated with GXR, particularly sedation-related effects, were dose-related, transient, mild to moderate in severity, and did not interfere with attention or overall efficacy. There are no reports of serious cardiovascular adverse events associated with GXR alone or in combination with psychostimulants.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
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