ADHD afflicted may find it difficult to kick the habit

November 22nd, 2008 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Nov 22 (IANS) Smoking is more prevalent among people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - and they are less likely to quit, according to a new study.The study found that ADHD smokers with higher levels of hyperactivity and impulsivity, with or without inattention, showed lower quit rates after eight weeks than those without ADHD.

The findings of the study, available online in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, could help smokers and physicians to better tailor cessation treatment for individuals with ADHD.

“Greater understanding of the associations between different kinds of ADHD have important public health consequences for smoking cessation and decreased tobacco-related mortality in this population,” said the study’s lead author Lirio Covey of the Columbia University Medical Center.

“The effect of ADHD by itself on smoking cessation has rarely been examined; the effects of the individual ADHD symptoms on smoking cessation, even less so.

“To our knowledge, the effects of inattention or hyperactivity at baseline as separate domains of ADHD on cessation treatment outcome have never been examined,” Covey said.

ADHD is a neuropsychiatric condition that begins in early childhood and, in most cases, persists to adolescence and adulthood. Its core symptoms are inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

The study examined 583 adult smokers, 43 of whom were identified with clinically significant ADHD symptoms. They were treated with the medication buproprion, the nicotine patch and regular cessation counselling.

Compared to smokers without ADHD, smokers of both ADHD subtypes showed lower abstinence rates throughout the study.

“The knowledge gained from further study of how these early onset disorders of nicotine dependency and ADHD are related could lead to early prevention of either one or both of these conditions,” Covey said.

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