Spouse Has Attention Deficit Disorder /ADHD

ADD/ADHD (attention-deficit {hyperactivity} disorder) is a common diagnosis for today’s youth. In fact, troche it is most often diagnosed as a result of school performance issues. Symptoms of childhood ADD include making careless mistakes, order having short attention span, click having trouble following through, avoiding tasks requiring sustained mental effort, being disorganized, losing things, being easily distracted and forgetful. ADHD includes symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity such as fidgeting, excessive movement (or in older kids – “restlessness”), suffering intense boredom when unstructured,  blurting out answers in class, finding it difficult to wait turns and interrupting others. A child can have a mixture of both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms or just “specialize” in one or the other.

Kids with attention deficit disorders also have a variety of other symptoms besides those that strictly identify the disorder. For instance, they may be very needy of stimulation and attention. They may have anger issues. They may have poor social skills. Some have “soft neurological signs” like clumsiness, poor eye-hand coordination and poor sense of direction that can all combine to make for difficulty in handwriting or sports. Many have “co-morbid” disorders such as anxiety, social phobia, mood issues, tic disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What happens to kids with ADD/ADHD as they grow up? A lot of children will experience a reduction of their symptoms by late adolescence or early adulthood, although a minority will maintain their full disorder right into middle age. When ADD/ADHD is in partial remission (the more common scenario), some symptoms may persist throughout life.

Adults with ADD have symptoms that interfere in work and relationships. For instance, they may have trouble working steadily on a job unless that job has lots of variety, lots of opportunity for physical movement, opportunities for creativity and only a minimum of detail-oriented repetitive tasks. Boring jobs are hard for ADDers – they tend to daydream or get distracted with unimportant things, resulting in missed deadlines and substandard performance reviews. Adult ADDers may switch jobs frequently, starting one thing and moving on to the next before any real success is achieved.

Compulsive tendencies lead many adult ADDers into compulsive spending, substance abuse and bingeing disorders. Problems with anger and impulsivity may lead to troubled relationships both on the job and with partners and kids. Poor organizational skills and attention to detail can lead to behaviors that look like purposeful forgetting – creating problems at home and at work.

Married to ADD
What’s it like to be married to someone who has ADD? Frustrating, confusing, disappointing and at times, hurtful. Many people do not realize that their spouse has a biologically based syndrome that affects all aspects of functioning. Instead, they thing their spouse is neglectful, irresponsible, mean spirited, lazy, stupid or crazy. Taking their behavior personally, partners of ADDers often seek divorce. Fortunately, there are other alternatives.

Those who have kids with ADD still love them and want the best for them. They want them to grow up, functional as well as possible, find love and build a happy household. They hope that the child’s spouse will be patient, understanding and helpful. Now suppose YOU are the child’s spouse. You have married a human being who is still deserving of affection and a good life. What can you do to help your partner?

If you notice symptoms of ADD, you can get a book on the subject and show the symptom list to your partner. Open up discussion. Look at the book’s recommendations. Then, ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist in adult ADD. There are many. Psycho-education, practical skills building, coaching, individual counseling and/or marriage counseling may all be useful. ADDers can learn techniques that will help them manage anger, manage time, meet deadlines, fulfill responsibilities, reduce risk taking, address addictions and more. Parenting classes can help them develop strategies instead of responding impulsively to children’s provocations. Stress-management programs and techniques can help them cope with their own frustrations with their often maddening deficits. Sometimes medication can be used to address various aspects of the disorder. Sometimes alternative medicine will offer some solutions. The main thing is to work WITH your ADD spouse to find ways to enhance functioning, improve mood, improve interpersonal skills and work skills to build a better life. All of this requires action. Complaining to your partner will not suffice. Motivating your spouse through the promise of increased love, happiness and success in life is the best way to go – you, your spouse and your children will flourish.

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