Wim van den Brink

Wim van den Brink (1952) received his medical degree in 1981. After his training as a psychiatric epidemiologist in Groningen (1983–1986) and New York (1986–1987) he got his PhD degree 1989. Since 1992 he has been full professor of Addiction Psychiatry at the Amsterdam University Medical Centers. In 2014 he received the lifetime achievement award from the Netherlands Association of Psychiatry, and in 2015 he became honorable member of the Spanish Society for Dual Disorders. In 2017 he received the European Addiction Research Award from the European Federation of Addiction Societies (EUFAS), and in 2020 became Professor Honoris Causa at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (Hungary). He is a (co)author of more than 600 international peer-reviewed scientific papers. He has been a thesis advisor to more than 75 PhD students. He has been the chair of the working groups that developed the Dutch treatment guidelines on alcohol use disorders, opiate addiction and drugs other than opioids. He is one of the founders and president of the International Collaboration of ADHD and Substance Abuse (ICASA). His main scientific interests are related to the neurobiology of addiction and the pharmacological treatment of substance use disorders and related comorbidities.

Society Lecture 2023
ADHD and addiction:
Epidemiology, genetics, neurobiology, prevention and treatment

In this presentation, I will answer the following questions: How many patients with a substance use disorder also meet the criteria for adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? What are the biopsychosocial mechanisms responsible for this comorbidity? Is it possible to prevent the development of comorbid substance use disorders in children/adolescents with ADHD? Do we need special interventions for the treatment of substance use disorders in patients with adult ADHD?

This review shows that adult ADHD is present in 15–25% of treatment-seeking patients with substance use disorders, that shared genetics factors play an important role in the comorbidity of these disorders, and that ADHD and substance use disorders share many neurobiological characteristics. Furthermore, it shows that the development of substance use disorders in children with ADHD can be prevented by early stimulant treatment and that patients with comorbid substance use disorders and ADHD can be effectively treated with high doses of stimulants.

I will complete the presentation with a short summary of an international consensus paper on screening, diagnosis, and treatment of patients with comorbid substance use disorders and ADHD.