ADD/ADHD places young people not only at a greater risk of smoking cigarettes, according to a recent study, but it also increases the chances they may be “more seriously addicted to tobacco.
These are the findings of a study conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The research also revealed that these individuals may be more vulnerable to smoking if exposed to environmental factors, such as friends or parents who smoke.
But that’s not all, the researchers discovered that even if the persons did not have all the symptoms to qualify as an official diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, they were still at a greater risk than others for this addiction. The more symptoms they exhibited, the study concluded, the greater their chances of becoming dependent on nicotine.
This isn’t the first study, though, to show that young persons with ADD/ADHD are more likely to smoke cigarettes – and start smoking at an earlier age than the average. This study, however, demonstrates the severity of the dependency on nicotine.
The study chose participants from two previous long-term studies – one involving boys, the other girls. These particular studies originally analyzed several factors. In both of these studies, the participants completed a questionnaire which evaluated their smoking history as well as the extent of their tobacco dependence – if any.
The study evaluated responses from 80 participants with ADHD as well as 86 individuals without the disorder.
Sixty nine percent of those with ADD/ADHD had smoked at some point in their lives; 41 percent of those individuals were still smokers. This compares to 44 percent of individuals without ADD/ADHD who had ever smoked. Moreover, only 17 percent of those were still smoking.
This study is interesting because it actually suggests that certain biological events may be at work that could possibly be the underlying causes of both ADHD and nicotine dependence.
Previous studies as well as experience have already revealed some link between ADD/ADHD and nicotine use.
“We’ve already shown that nicotine-based medications can treat ADHD symptoms, said Timothy Wilens, MD, director of the Substance Abuse Program in the Massachusetts General Pediatric Psychopharmacology Department. “[A]nd it’s known that the children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at greater risk of ADHD.”
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