Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms are Common in Patients in Opioid Maintenance Treatment

Eur Addict Res. 2017;23(6):298-305. doi: 10.1159/000484240. Epub 2018 Jan 10.


Introduction and aims: Knowledge of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms among patients in opioid maintenance treatment (OMT) is important for treatment optimization and yet limited. We investigated the prevalence of ADHD symptoms, and factors associated with high ADHD symptom burden in a group of Norwegian OMT patients.

Methods: We interviewed individuals entering OMT across Norway in 2 steps between 2012 and 2016. ADHD symptoms were measured by the Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS; n = 175). We compared 2 groups of individuals who scored above or below the clinical cutoff score. Mental distress was measured with the General Symptom Index (GSI) of the Hopkin's Symptom Check-List-25.

Results: A total of 33% of the OMT patients screened positively for ADHD on the ASRS. Participants who scored above the clinical cutoff were younger, and reported more severe substance use and mental distress. When controlling for other significant variables in a logistic regression analysis, scoring above cutoff on the ASRS was associated with higher GSI (OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.03-2.50) and use of stimulants (OR 2.55; 1.13-5.76).

Conclusions: ADHD symptoms were common in these OMT patients. High ADHD symptom burden was associated with higher mental distress and use of stimulants. This underlines a need of more systematic focus on ADHD in OMT to plan treatment accordingly.

Keywords: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Mental health problems; Opioid dependence; Opioid maintenance treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment / methods*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Illicit Drugs