Background: Alcohol dependence is a highly prevalent condition worldwide. Among those with early-onset substance dependence, studies have found that about 30% have comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Such patients tend to have severe dependence, poorer outcomes, and failure of classical treatment.
Aim and objective: To study the prevalence of adult ADHD and explore the correlates of ADHD among those with early-onset alcohol dependence.
Materials and methods: Eighty-two adult inpatients with early-onset alcohol dependence were recruited for the study after obtaining informed consent. The World Health Organization (WHO) Adult ADHD Screening Rating Scale (ASRS) was used to screen adult ADHD. Wender Utah Rating Scale (WURS) was used to corroborate childhood ADHD symptoms. Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SAD-Q) was administered to determine the severity of dependence. Cohen\'s Perceived Stress Scale was administered to determine the perceived stress levels in the past 1 month. MINI Plus Neuropsychiatric Interview was administered to rule out mood disorders and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Analysis of data was done using t-test, Fisher\'s exact test, Spearman\'s correlations, and multiple logistic regression analysis to determine the odds of having severe dependence.
Results: Twenty-one out of the 82 subjects with early-onset alcohol dependence had adult ADHD (25.6%). The severity of alcohol dependence was significantly greater among those with comorbid ADHD (p <0.001). The odds of having ADHD predicting severe dependence was 8 (p = 0.0004).
Conclusion: The prevalence of adult ADHD in those with early-onset alcohol dependence is high. Adult ADHD is a significant predictor of greater severity of alcohol dependence. There is a need for studies that evaluate therapeutic options that would be effective for the treatment of comorbid ADHD and early-onset alcohol dependence.