Original Research

Differences in alcohol and cannabis use amongst substance use disorder patients with and without comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Corné Coetzee, Ilse Truter, Anneke Meyer
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 28 | a1786 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v28i0.1786 | © 2022 Corné Coetzee, Ilse Truter, Anneke Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 August 2021 | Published: 14 April 2022

About the author(s)

Corné Coetzee, Drug Utilization Research Unit (DURU), Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa; Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa
Ilse Truter, Drug Utilization Research Unit (DURU), Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa
Anneke Meyer, Drug Utilization Research Unit (DURU), Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Substance use disorders (SUDs) continue to be a public health problem. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is seen as a risk factor for SUD. Prevalence of alcohol and cannabis use amongst adults with SUD and comorbid ADHD impacts both disorders cognitively and behaviourally.

Aim: Our study aimed to compare alcohol and cannabis use between treatment-seeking SUD patients with ADHD and SUD patients without ADHD symptomatology.

Setting: Various rehabilitation centres, including the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) Centres, and Private and Provincial Government Substance Abuse Treatment Centres.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of adults on drug rehabilitation was conducted. Data on socio-demographic information and alcohol and cannabis use from 185 post-detox inpatients were collected. Diagnoses were based on DSM-IV criteria. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosis was confirmed by the Diagnostic-Interview for ADHD in Adults (DIVA 2.0). SUD+ADHD (n = 52) and SUD-ADHD (n = 128) groups were compared on alcohol and cannabis use as a function of gender.

Results: No significant differences in the use of alcohol between the SUD+ADHD and SUD-ADHD groups were found. However, the SUD+ADHD group showed increased cannabis consumption. Especially, the SUD+ADHD females showed an earlier age of onset of cannabis use than the SUD-ADHD females and revealed that they use cannabis for a longer period compared with the SUD-ADHD females and SUD+ADHD and SUD-ADHD males.

Conclusion: The results revealed the relationship between ADHD and cannabis use, especially amongst females with ADHD and reinforce the need to consider ADHD in cannabis use SUD in clinical interventions.


Keywords

ADHD; alcohol; ASRS; cannabis; DIVA; self-medication; South Africa

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