Comorbidity between Behavioral Addictions and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: a Systematic Review

  • Servet Karaca
  • Ayman Saleh
  • Fatih CananEmail author
  • Marc N. Potenza


We aimed to conduct a systematic review to examine the rates of comorbid Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and various behavioral addictions, including gambling disorder, food addiction/binge-eating disorder, sex addiction/hypersexuality disorder, Internet addiction/Internet gaming disorder, compulsive buying disorder, and exercise addiction. PubMed and Web of Science were searched for articles published before December, 2015. Exclusion criteria were studies with either behavioral addictions or ADHD only, but not both; review articles, case reports, case series, book chapters, and letters to the editor. Studies not using standardized diagnostic criteria for ADHD, gambling disorder, or binge-eating disorder were also excluded. Of the 3126 citations found, 14 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Five reported results for rates of comorbid ADHD and gambling disorder, three for those of ADHD and binge-eating disorder, two for those of ADHD and sex addiction, and four for those of ADHD and Internet addiction. No studies were found to report rates of comorbid ADHD and compulsive buying disorder or exercise addiction. The prevalence of comorbid ADHD in individuals with behavioral addictions ranged from 5.8 % to 88.3 %. The prevalence of comorbid behavioral addictions in those with ADHD ranged from 5.9 % to 71.8 %. This systematic review revealed a high degree of co-occurrence of ADHD and behavioral addictions. The findings of this review shed light on the need to explore the links between ADHD and behavioral addictions and their implications for treatment.


ADHD Behavioral addictions Comorbidity Systematic review 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

Authors Servet Karaca, Ayman Saleh, Fatih Canan and Marc N. Potenza declare that they have no conflict of interest. Author Marc N. Potenza has received financial support or compensation for the following: Dr. Potenza has consulted for and advised Boehringer Ingelheim, Ironwood, Lundbeck, INSYS, Shire, RiverMend Health and Opiant/Lakelight Therapeutics; has received research support from the NIH, Veteran’s Administration, Mohegan Sun Casino, the National Center for Responsible Gaming, and Pfizer, Forest Laboratories, Ortho-McNeil, Psyadon, Oy-Control/Biotie and Glaxo-SmithKline pharmaceuticals; has participated in surveys, mailings or telephone consultations related to drug addiction, impulse control disorders or other health topics; has consulted for law offices and the federal public defender’s office in issues related to impulse control disorders; provides clinical care in the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Problem Gambling Services Program; has performed grant reviews for the NIH and other agencies; has edited journals and journal sections; has given academic lectures in grand rounds, CME events and other clinical or scientific venues; and has generated books or book chapters for publishers of mental health texts.


Author Marc N. Potenza received support from the National Center for Responsible Gaming and CASAColumbia. The contents of the manuscript are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of any of the funding agencies.

Informed Consent

No animal or human studies were carried out by the authors for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Servet Karaca
    • 1
  • Ayman Saleh
    • 2
  • Fatih Canan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marc N. Potenza
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryAkdeniz University School of MedicineAntalyaTurkey
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryVanderbilt University Psychiatry DepartmentNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Psychiatry, Neurobiology and Child Study Center, CASA Columbia and Connecticut Mental Health CenterYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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