Association between craving and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms among patients with alcohol use disorders

Am J Addict. 2013 May-Jun;22(3):292-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2012.12000.x.


Background/aim: Adult Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) patients with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms may suffer more from craving than patients who only have AUD. However, craving may be even more strongly related to withdrawal and psychiatric symptoms; therefore, the association between craving and ADHD may be misinterpreted. The purpose of this study is to examine the association between craving and ADHD symptoms among AUD patients in more detail.

Methods: In a multisite study, 385 patients with and without ADHD symptoms who were attending treatment for alcohol dependence were compared in terms of craving, withdrawal, and psychiatric symptoms. The contribution of ADHD symptoms to craving was estimated in a hierarchical regression analysis by controlling for psychiatric and withdrawal symptoms.

Results: Patients with probable adult ADHD showed higher craving, more withdrawal and psychiatric symptoms, and rated withdrawal symptoms as more severe than did patients without ADHD symptoms. In the regression model, only about 3% of variance in alcohol craving was explained by ADHD symptomatology, whereas 23% of the variance was explained when withdrawal and psychiatric symptoms were added to the model.

Conclusions: Alcohol craving is likely related to withdrawal and psychiatric symptoms more strongly than to ADHD symptoms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / complications
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires