Screening for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among substance users is improved

Researchers improve screening for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among substance users

Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a major learning disability among both children and adults. ADHD is especially common among drug users and alcoholics and increases the severity of their addiction problems. ADHD is treatable, but diagnosing it among adult substance users has been difficult and expensive. Charles Cleland and his colleagues at National Development and Research Institutes in New York City found that a screening test originally developed for the general population the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) - also works well to identify ADHD symptoms among substance users. The CAARS is an effective, simple and inexpensive way to screen adult substance users for ADHD, so that they can be referred for confirmatory diagnosis and possible ADHD treatment.

Stephen Magura, the Principal Investigator of the study, remarks: Although more research is needed, our study shows that better screening of substance users for ADHD is possible, with the payoff that ADHD will be treated and recovery from addiction will be facilitated.

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Cleland, Charles; Magura, Stephen; Foote, Jeffrey; Rosenblum, Andrew; Kosanke, Nicole. Factor structure of the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) for substance users. Addictive Behaviors. 2006 Jul;31(7):1277-82.

This study was supported by Grant No. RO1 DA12209 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, S. Magura, Principal Investigator.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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