Binge drinking is a major public health problem and highly prevalent in young adults. One risk factor for problem drinking that has been researched is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The current study is looking to see if there is an association between ADHD symptoms and binge drinking. The other focus of the study is related to stress and its association to alcohol misuse in college students.
11,186 total participants were recruited through the Internet-based Students Health Research Enterprise project with 7011 who met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 20.9 years. They gave the students a baseline questionnaire to gain knowledge about their mental and physical health, medical histories, sociodemographic characteristics, and lifestyle habits. They asked students to categorize their binge drinking, ADHD symptoms, perceived stress, and other variables including gender, place of living, family financial help, grade level, job activity, and sports.
Overall, the researchers found no significant associations between stress levels and binge drinking. However, they found significant associations between ADHD symptoms and higher frequency of binge drinking. The symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/ impulsivity were the most associated with higher levels of binge drinking. This may cause concern that students with ADHD are using binge drinking to self-medicate against stressors that come along with being a student at a school or university. The researchers suggest universities implement screenings to better detect ADHD symptoms so more support can be given. Also, screen students that are binge drinking who come to counseling to see if they have ADHD symptom. This way they can be more adequately cared for.
Take Away: Binge drinking is a problem among college campuses all over the world. One risk factor is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The current study looks to see if there are any relationships between stress, ADHD symptoms, and binge drinking. They recruited a total of 7011 students who met the inclusion criteria and asked them to categorize their binge drinking, ADHD symptoms, perceived stress, and several other variables. The researchers found that while there was no association between stress levels and binge drinking, there were significant associations between ADHD symptoms and higher frequency of binge drinking. They suggest that universities implement screening to better detect ADHD symptoms to provide specialized support along with screen students having issues with problematic binge drinking for ADHD symptoms; All of this would be done to better support and care for the students.
Garcia, M., Rouchy, E., Galéra, C., Tzourio, C., & Michel, G. (2019). The relation between ADHD symptoms, perceived stress and binge drinking in college students. Psychiatry Research, 112689. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2019.112689