TGIF Differs in ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increases attention bias with alcohol intake

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) As readers digest this article, someone else in the world takes in a social drink with thoughts of relaxation. Unfortunately for those with ADHD, such a drink could have erratic cognitive consequences,

A study published this week demonstrates an increased presence of biased judgments and decisions in social drinkers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) not experienced in aware controls. Researchers believe bias could cause increased pleasure drinking.  

"Speak with a therapist about the link between ADHD and alcoholism."

Published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Walter Roberts, researcher at the University of Kentucky, led the study on 40 social drinkers, half with ADHD. Participants performed guided tasks after receiving doses of alcohol ranging from 0.00-0.64 grams of alcohol per kilogram and were judged on response.

ADHD patients displayed a significant increase in attentional bias after consuming alcoholic doses.  Contrary, the control group did not show a difference in bias regardless of the dosage. One factor used to predict bias included a taste-rating session where only the ADHD group decided to intake alcohol for pleasure.

Walter Roberts and his teams explain that “these findings indicate that an acute alcohol dose increases attentional bias in adults with ADHD. Further, attentional bias appears to be a predictor of ad libitum (at the user's pleasure) consumption in this group.”

Attentional bias occurs when a person fails to examine all logical outcomes and instead makes a judgment by correlation or association. A simple example of attentional bias happens every Super Bowl when bystanders choose alliances based off of cities or team colors instead of technique and record.

Although in the case of football, the consequences of attentional bias would typically be slim, when it comes to alcohol-intake, the risks skyrocket. With alcohol-related fatalities in the top-three leading causes of death in the United States, such erratic decision-making yields tremendous concern.

Talk with doctors about alcohol intake and ADHD in order to fully comprehend how to be social and safe at the same time.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 1, 2011
Last Updated:
December 1, 2011