Modern life is full of distractions, from smartphones and social media to a constant stream of calls, texts and emails. We are often pulled in several different directions at once, so it’s no surprise that our attention spans seem to be decreasing. If you have a mental health disorder such as ADHD, you might find it even more difficult to focus in this fast-paced world. Often diagnosed during childhood, ADHD can significantly impact your daily life and interfere with your ability to concentrate, making even simple tasks seem impossible. If left untreated, you may begin to experience problems with your relationships, career and family, and more likely to engage in risky behavior such as drug or alcohol use. This may lead to a co-occurring substance use disorder and can have serious consequences on your overall health and well-being.

Man thinking
adhd symptoms

If you’re struggling with substance use and ADHD, integrated care for co-occurring disorders can help you get back on track and restore a sense of balance in your life. At Journey Hillside Tarzana, you’ll be supported by a multidisciplinary team of addiction specialists, medical professionals and therapists as you discover your path to recovery and overcome the obstacles that are holding you back from a life free of drugs and alcohol. Combined with highly personalized treatment plans and cutting-edge therapies, we can help you manage your mental health symptoms and develop the life skills you need to maintain your sobriety for years to come.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that usually presents in childhood as an inability to concentrate, sit still or stay focused. Those with the condition may perform poorly in school and exhibit disruptive behavior, especially if the condition isn’t being treated. Although ADHD is associated with children, adults can struggle with the disorder, too, and depending on the severity of their condition may find it difficult to hold a steady job, maintain personal relationships or stay organized. Other symptoms include:


Although most people will occasionally experience some of these symptoms, ADHD is diagnosed when they become severe enough to interfere with at least two aspects of daily life and cause ongoing problems.


Experts aren’t sure exactly what causes ADHD, but a lot of evidence suggests that it is a genetic disorder. If a parent has ADHD, there is more than a 50 percent chance that their child will also have it. Other factors, such as low birth weight, tobacco and alcohol use during pregnancy and pesticide exposure have also been associated with higher rates of ADHD.

ADHD is thought to be closely linked to dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood, attention, motivation and more. In children and adults with the disorder, dopamine is removed too quickly from the brain, which prevents it from exerting its full effects. Other important chemicals, such as norepinephrine and serotonin may also play a role. Due to this, those with ADHD are also more likely to have other mental health concerns, such as mood, behavioral and substance use disorders.


One way that ADHD is related to addiction has to do with how the condition is commonly treated. ADHD is often treated with stimulant medication such as Adderall and Ritalin. When used as directed, these medications help residents concentrate, focus on work or school and find balance in their lives. Unfortunately, prescription stimulants are often abused and diverted, a common concern among teens, young adults and college students. These drugs produce effects similar to methamphetamine when misused, appealing to those who want to stay awake longer to study or party. Combined with the pressure that many feel to perform well at work or school and otherwise succeed in our fast-paced society, these drugs come with a high risk for addiction and abuse.

When ADHD medications are properly used, however, they can help residents manage their symptoms and lead healthy, productive lives. Studies show that those who do not receive treatment for their ADHD are at a higher risk of developing a substance use disorder than their peers, with an earlier onset and longer recovery period. Poor judgment, boredom, impulsive behavior, self-medication and other factors may play a role, as well as a decreased ability to handle stress and daily responsibilities. For individuals struggling with both ADHD and substance use, effective treatment that addresses both simultaneously is necessary for long-term recovery. At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we provide integrated care for co-occurring disorders, helping residents with ADHD and other mental health concerns manage their symptoms so they can focus on healing. Clients will learn how to recognize triggers, develop healthy coping skills, reduce impulsive behavior and establish the skills they need to maintain lasting recovery.


At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we understand that treating both mental health and substance abuse disorders together is essential to helping our clients achieve lasting sobriety. If those with ADHD don’t receive treatment for their disorder, concentrating on the recovery process and setting treatment goals becomes problematic. Furthermore, their symptoms will still be present after recovery, making it difficult to curb impulsive behavior and maintain a sober lifestyle. To address the unique challenges of dual diagnosis recovery, our integrated treatment programs encompass the full scope of each client’s emotional, physical and mental health needs and utilize an effective blend of cutting-edge therapies that include:


With a multidisciplinary approach, integrated care and personalized recovery plans, we strive to ensure that each client can find a path to recovery that resonates with them. Guided by a compassionate team of experienced professionals, clients will explore the roots of their addictive behavior and understand how their mental health and substance use disorders relate. Our goal is to help clients develop effective strategies for overcoming obstacles to recovery, allowing them to achieve long-term sobriety and enjoy the happy, healthy lives they deserve.


Journey Hillside Tarzana is located in the calm, quiet hills of Los Angeles, giving clients the opportunity to undergo treatment in comfort and privacy without the distractions of daily life. Our exclusive facility offers private and semi-private rooms, the latest amenities and a therapeutic atmosphere that promotes rest and recovery. Backed by a highly experienced team of providers and carefully designed treatment plans, we strive to help residents transform their lives and become happier, healthier and more fulfilled as they work toward long-term sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with ADHD and a co-occurring substance use disorder, contact or call us today at 833-7JOURNEY (877-414-1024) to learn more about our programs and how we can help.

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