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Do You Have Adult ADHD?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

There have been many instances where a married couple consults me because of difficulties they are having in getting along with one another. Among these couples are a few in which I begin to suspect that one or the other of the spouses has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

For me there are several clues that alert me to the possibility that a patient may have ADHD. Among these clues are:

1) During the marriage therapy session patient’s eyes become glazed so that they do not seem to be paying attention.

2) The individual becomes restless and fidgety.

3) The individual constantly interrupts their spouse by blurting out comments.

4) The non ADHD spouse complains about never feeling listened to, feels constantly disregarded and angered by their forgetfulness.

It is not any single clue that alerts me to the possibility of ADHD but the combination of all of them. Sometimes it is just a "gut feeling" that I get about the possibility of this disorder. Once I start asking questions about any history of this disorder it frequently turns out that teachers at one time suspected ADHD, the patient suspected they have ADHD, parents once thought it was possible or they at one time were positively diagnosed but nothing was done about it.

If you suspect you have ADHD or if you are curious, there are a number of self assessment tests that are available online or in books. On our Mental Help Net web site you can find a self test at the following URL:

However, this self test is not meant to serve as the final decision or determination correct diagnosis. The next step is to speak to your physician about what you suspect and why and continue from there. Either your MD can do an evaluation or refer you to a psychiatrist who can do so. The next step is to decide with your doctor what the treatment options are. Medications are available that can help people better focus their attention and control their impulses. Psychotherapy and coaching is also available so that patients can learn how to compensate for their difficulties.

If all of these steps result in a positive diagnosis then it is important for the spouse to be included in the learning process with regard to ADHD. It is important that the spouse know that ADHD is a neurological disorder and that the patient was not deliberately ignoring or disregarding them. People married to someone with this condition are often angry at and blaming of their husband or wife for the things they did or did not do. Movement away from blaming is learning how to help the ADHD spouse overcome their problems.

What are some of the symptoms to look for if you suspect you have ADHD?

1) Often cannot complete tasks.

2) Inability to get things in order.

3) Procrastination, even for those things you want to do.

4) Fidget, squirm, with hands, feet if you must sit for a long time.

5) Often feel you are underachieving.

6) Moody, irritable

7) Do not like being touched

8) Feel like you are in a fog.

9) Cannot follow discussions in a group.

10) Forget appointments.

This list is far from complete. The important thing is to seek help for this. There is no reason why ADHD should hold you back from feeling good about your self and from feeling successful.

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