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National INstitute on Drug Abuse on 09/27/2022 by Dr. Nora Volkow
Natalie struggled with a methamphetamine use disorder for more than 9 years.
She was one of the fortunate few to receive treatment to address her addiction, yet that help felt incomplete. Like many people trying to heal from substance use disorders, she eventually began taking meth again.
Eventually, Natalie was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of the most common mental disorders in youth. She started ADHD treatment in addition to treatment for her meth addiction, and it made her long-term recovery a reality.
“The addition of Adderall really changed my life,” she said. “Looking back, it makes sense that I was self-medicating ADHD that was undiagnosed. I found it very discouraging that a lot of people got their lives in order while I struggled to function with everyday tasks. In part, that is what led to my relapse.”
Recovering from drug addiction is notoriously difficult. Setbacks are common. Too often, a critical element is overlooked: co-occurring mental health conditions. Treating mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, and others with medications or other therapies is crucial to address the addiction and overdose crisis that now claims over 100,000 lives annually.