Psychiatric disorders in childhood increase risk for addiction later

The study reveals the importance of early detection and intervention in children with psychiatric disorders.

By Amy Wallace

July 3 (UPI) -- A recent study found children with psychiatric disorders are at increased risk of developing addiction later in adulthood.

Researchers analyzed data from numerous previous studies, identifying a link between various psychiatric disorders in children and a higher risk of addiction in adulthood.


The study, published in the July edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, conduct disorder, or CD, or depression were at increased risk for developing addictions later in life.

"We know that ADHD in childhood increases the risk for later substance-related disorders, but until now, no systematic evaluation of other childhood psychiatric disorders had been conducted," Dr. Annabeth P. Groenman, researcher at Accare, Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, said in a press release.

"Our findings show that not only ADHD increased the risk of addictions, but that other childhood psychiatric disorders also increased risk. This indicates the importance of early detection of mental health problems in a wider group. Addiction is a major cause of immense personal, familial, and societal burden, and prevention is therefore an important goal."


Researchers analyzed data from 37 earlier studies of 762,187 participants. Of the study participants, 22,029 had ADHD, 434 had ODD/CD, 1,433 had anxiety disorder and 2,451 had depression.

ODD/CD was found to frequently occur with ADHD in 30 percent of cases, which is believed to be the main cause of addictions in people with ADHD.

Latest Headlines