Parental alcoholism boosts risk of drinking in older teens with ADHD

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 16, 2007

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Older teenagers diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol, and alcoholism among their parents increases this risk, according to a pair of studies in the April Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Researchers interviewed teens with an ADHD diagnosis and their parents about alcohol use. An increased risk of alcoholism was not found in younger adolescents, but about 14% of the 15- to 17-year-olds had an alcohol use disorder. None without ADHD had such a diagnosis. Those with ADHD and issues with alcohol were also more likely to have alcoholic parents.

"One of the reasons that children with ADHD might be at risk for alcohol problems is that alcoholism and ADHD tend to run together in families," said Brooke Molina, PhD, an author on both papers and associate professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Previous studies have been inconsistent on the link between ADHD and alcoholism, and researchers say this may be because these kind of problems do not seem to develop until older adolescence.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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