Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder: Addiction’s Perfect Storm

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Training Details

Event Dates and Timeframe
Any Time
Location and Delivery Method
Delivery Method
Online / Web Delivered
Support Website
Cost Range
FREE to $15.00

Host And Instructor

National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC)
Beth Donnellan, M.Ed, ABD, FT,


C.E. Credit for NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals: 1.00
Specialization: Qualified Addictions Professional
The CE certificate for this webinar will be available after the webinar takes place. NAADAC Members will be prompted to register for the CE quiz for free, while non-members will be prompted to pay a processing fee to access the quiz. Upon passing the CE quiz, a CE Certificate will be immediately available to download in your profile.

Training Overview Description


According to the Centers for Disease Control (2015), 9.5% of all children ages 3-17 are diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder by 2015. These 6 million children will grow into teens and adults, many of whom will have no ongoing professional support. While much of the publicity around the high diagnosis rates has focused on the dangers of prescribing stimulant drugs to children, the lurking danger is in the lack of appropriate support after diagnosis. For this reason, it is important for the addiction professional to understand the basic neural action of an ADHD brain. Effective prevention and treatment strategies should be tailored to account for these differences. In this presentation, we will explore the imbalance between impulsivity and cognitive control, basic brain function of an ADHD brain, basic psychopharmacology of stimulants in an ADHD brain, and strategies for accommodating prevention and treatment experiences. The presentation will use case studies of teens and adults to demonstrate these concepts. Professionals often understand that early use of stimulants (as children) increases the biological and social risk of becoming addicted to drugs and/or alcohol later. However, few understand that those diagnosed with ADHD struggle to control strong impulsive urges that drive their behaviors. Worse, most lack cognitive control to help them to get out of a situation. Teens already struggle to manage their risk-taking urges due to signals from their right inferior frontal gyrus and lack of ability to regulate those urges (prefrontal cortex). Therefore, teens suffer from a brainpower imbalance (Mulhert, Nils, Boy, Lawrence, & Andrews, 2015). Those diagnosed with ADHD and those who take stimulant drugs (e.g. Concerta, Adderall) are at greater risk for rewiring neural circuitry, making them more susceptible to chemical addiction (Lakhan&Kirchgessner, 2012). Of course, not all teens diagnosed with ADHD and who take prescription drugs will develop a chemical addiction. However, many show increased addictive behaviors (e.g.gambling, sex) as adults. Clients who are taught strategies to manage impulsivity and increase cognitive control are better able to avoid or recover from addictive tendencies. Case studies will be used to demonstrate to participants how different strategies work with teen and adult clients. Participants will be given a poll to vote as to which strategy to use in each part of the case study. The overall message is to highlight the complexities of treating clients diagnosed with ADHD and to equip participants with effective strategies.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the imbalance of impulsivity and cognitive control in ADHD diagnosed teenagers and adults.

  • Apply specific prevention/treatment strategies to case studies of ADHD addicted clients.

  • Describe the psychopharmacological mechanism of stimulants in ADHD diagnosed brains.

Who Should Attend

Addiction professionals, employee assistance professionals, social workers, mental health counselors, professional counselors, psychologists, and other helping professionals that are interested in learning about addiction-related matters.

CE Credits

To earn a CE Certificate for viewing this webinar, you must view the webinar in its entirety, complete the online evaluation, and pass the CE quiz.

  1. Upon completing the webinar, click on the “Online CE Quiz” link in the grey box at the top to complete the online evaluation survey and CE quiz, and get your CE certificate. This link will be made available after the webinar takes place. NAADAC members will be prompted to register for the CE quiz for free, while non-members will be prompted to pay a processing fee to access the quiz.
  2. A score of 80% or higher is required to pass the CE quiz and access your CE certificate. You have 10 opportunities to pass the quiz. If you are unable to pass the quiz in the allocated number of tries, then you must retake the course.
  3. Upon passing the CE quiz, your CE certificate will be immediately available to download in your NAADAC profile. Detailed step-by-step instructions for accessing your CE quiz and CE Certificate are available.

Click here for a complete list of organizations who approve NAADAC to provide continuing education hours.

Event-specific Details

This training could be applied to multiple areas of the Alaska Qualified Addictions Professional (QAP) certification. Contact the Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification (Ask for Dabney Van Liere, Executive Director) at 907-332-4333 or email for specific information.