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Treating neurodivergent clients in addiction

Journal of Substance Use, DOI:10.1080/14659891.2023.2212044

Treating neurodivergent clients in addiction


Cailyn Green & Bernadet DeJonge
State University of New York: Empire State University School of Human Services Saratoga, New York USA


Substance use does not discriminate against culture, religion, biology or social backgrounds (Erickson, 2011). In working with clients struggling with substance use issues, clinicians need to be aware that clients often have extremely unique and vastly different backgrounds. The term ‘neurodivergent’ is relatively new in the field of addiction science and was initially created to describe clients with different mental and neurological functions.
Examples include ADHD, intellectual disabilities, obsessive compulsive disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (Kornblau & Robertson, 2021). Neurodivergency as a term has gained
traction, and currently there is a movement in the field of Human Services to better serve clients with these diagnoses.