Adolescents with concurrent ADHD and substance use disorder; international consensus
Background Substance use disorder (SUD) is common among youths with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Co-morbid ADHD and SUD in youths complicates screening, diagnosis, and treatment of both disorders and is associated with worse treatment prognosis. Limited research in youths with SUD and co-morbid ADHD provides insufficient basis for firm recommendations. To offer clinicians some guidance on this topic, we present the results of an international consensus procedure.
Aim To summarize an international consensus on diagnosis and treatment of young people with comorbid ADHD and SUD.
Method In a modified Delphi-study, a multidisciplinary, international group of 55 experts strived to reach consensus on 37 recommendations.
Results Consensus was reached on 36 recommendations. Routine screening of ADHD and/or SUD is important. For the treatment of co-morbid SUD and ADHD in youths, both psychosocial and pharmacological treatment should be considered. Psychosocial treatment should preferably consist of psychoeducation, motivational interviewing (MI), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focused on SUD or both disorders. Long-acting stimulants are recommended as first choice pharmacotherapy, preferably embedded in psychosocial treatment. Experts did not agree on the precondition that patients need to be abstinent before starting stimulant treatment.
Conclusion Clinicians and youths with co-morbid SUD and ADHD can use this international consensus to choose the best possible treatment.