Children with mental health disorders found to be at high risk of adult addiction

risks with specific substances.

People with ADHD, ODD, CD and depression as children showed a trend toward addictions with a range of substances, including alcohol, nicotine and drugs. The only outlier was anxiety disorder, which only showed a correlation with future drug addiction.

Groenman was quick to point out that the new research does not link directly to the current opioid crisis in the U.S. But she does want to see it inform future prescribing behavior.

She said: “Although I do not feel that the work presented here directly relates to this crisis, certainly since older studies and non-U.S. studies have been included, it is possible that the group of youngsters with mental health issues at a young age should be monitored more closely when prescribed opioids.”

The researchers hypothesized that one cause of the link could be people with mental health disorders self-medicating in a bid to reduce their symptoms. But they said that alone does not account for the significant correlation.

Groenman added that there are still unanswered questions, and she is planning further research in the hope it will lead to more precise early detection of disorders and developing addiction patterns.