Do you have Adult ADHD? Do you find yourself in the Dog House with your husband or wife because you forgot to do stuff or got too angry about something?
There are some people who mistakenly believe that Adult ADHD is an excuse for bad behavior. They also believe that understanding the disorder makes excuses for it. Not at all. This is one of those disorders that people can learn to control or compensate for symptoms. For example, if one of the symptoms is forgetting important dates, such as anniversaries and birthday, the solution is to program either the computer, or cell phone to send reminders.
Adult ADHD often leads to divorce because of the inability of the spouse who does not have the disorder to understand the symptoms. On the other hand, the adults with ADHD often use the disorder as an excuse for lack of courtesy, good manners, bad temper, failure to get things done, and selfishness.
When it comes to marriage and children, success requires the efforts of all the adults involved. That translates into doing some of or all of the following:
1. If medication is prescribed to reduce symptoms, do not fail to use the medicines as prescribed.
2. Unfortunately, some of the ADHD medications (Adderall, and other stimulants) can be and are abused. ADHD is no excuse for this type of bad behavior. If a person cannot use medication in a way that is responsible then they should not be using it at all.
3. More important than medication there is the use of ADHD coaching in which patients are taught coping behaviors that help them learn to fulfill responsibilities at home and at work.
4. It is important to keep daily lists of important things to get done at home and at work and cross them off as they are accomplished.
5. ADHD often is accompanied by depression and irritability and quickness to anger. Plenty of exercise, especially aerobic types, are essential in helping relieve tension, depression and irritability. In fact, it has been found that daily exercise can reduce many ADHD symptoms.
6. Meditation with or without Yoga are important in helping reduce stress, not only for people with ADHD, but for everyone.
7. In understanding that you have ADHD it is important to practice openness to the comments your wife or husband is making about your behavior. I have seen too many cases where the ADHD spouse energetically denies doing or forgetting the very things they are doing.
8. Without giving tacit permission to the ADHD spouse for bad behavior, the husband or wife who does not have the disorder really must work to understand that they are with someone who has a very real disorder.
There is a balancing act that goes on here for the non ADHD spouse. Too many husbands or wives attempt to do everything in the household and, thereby, not rely on their partner. Instead, it is right to ask your partner to take care of responsibilities.
People with ADHD are capable and talented people who need not allow their lives to be limited or their marriages a failure.
Your comments and questions are strongly encouraged.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD