ADHD & Your Marriage: Understanding and Combating the Symptoms Part 1: In addition to medication, there are other ways to help deal with the symptoms of ADHD in your marriage. BY DR. JONI FRATER AND ESTHER LASTIQUE
ADHD or ADD in marriage can cause strains if not dealt with professionally.
In marriage, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) can wreak havoc if not identified and treated. The following two-part series explores the symptoms and treatments, in addition to providing advice for those with ADHD and the spouse of those dealing with this disorder. The intertwined relationship of a marriage also requires specific responsibilities that are addressed. Above all else, know that there is help.
What is ADHD?
ADHD and ADD have symptoms that may begin in childhood and continue into adulthood. ADHD and ADD symptoms can cause problems at home, school, work and in relationships.
ADHD can destroy your marriage if you don't get the right help. People with ADHD have higher divorce rates than those without the condition, according to one survey.
How Can Someone with ADHD Get Help for Relationship Issues?
The first step is to treat the ADHD symptoms that are interfering with your marriage. If you haven't already been diagnosed, see a mental health professional (a psychologist or psychiatrist). Many of the same treatments that work in children— such as stimulant medications (Ritalin), talk therapy and behavioral therapy— can also help adults with ADHD improve their focus.
Marriage or couples therapy can help you and your spouse better understand one another, and may help heal any rifts that have opened in your relationship as a result of ADHD.
ADHD in Marriage
Many people mistakenly believe that ADHD is a problem confined to childhood— one that children "grow out of." Yet about half of those who had ADHD in childhood, nearly 5 percent of Americans, continue to have it into adulthood.
The inattentiveness and difficulty finishing tasks that made it tough for people to sit still at work can evolve into self-esteem issues, trouble holding down a job and substance abuse problems. These symptoms of adult ADHD can also put a real strain on relationships.
Many adults with ADHD also have never been diagnosed. Until you know you have ADHD, you can't get the right treatment for it and your marriage could suffer.
How Does ADHD Affect Relationships?
The hallmark symptoms of ADHD including, forgetfulness, inattentiveness, difficulty completing tasks and impulsivity can all wreak havoc on relationships. All of these issues can be complicated even more if children are involved.
Here are some of the problems you might face if you or your spouse has ADHD:
Difficulty listening and paying attention. An individual with ADHD may "zone out" or talk out of turn, making it difficult to communicate. It can also cause your spouse to feel as though what he or she has to say doesn't matter.
Trouble completing tasks. ADHD can lead to poor organizational skills and forgetfulness. A man with ADHD may miss his wife's birthday or their wedding anniversary or may forget to stop at the store on the way home from work as his wife had asked. This forgetfulness may make his wife feel hurt and think that her husband doesn't care, when he's actually forgotten because he has trouble staying on top of things. That same inability to finish tasks may translate into a lack of commitment when it comes to marriage or other relationships.
Inability to handle responsibilities. Someone with ADHD might forget to pay the bills, neglect to clear a dangerous pile of branches from the backyard or leave a toxic cleaner on the sink while the children are playing nearby.
Impulsive behavior. People with ADHD constantly need stimulation and may fail to think through the consequences of their actions. This can lead to reckless, irresponsible behaviors (like driving too fast with the kid’s in the car).
Emotional overreaction. Someone with ADHD may lose his or her temper easily, leading to major misunderstandings and sometimes, big blowout fights. Arguments can quickly spiral out of control because the person with ADHD is unable to talk through issues calmly.
Weight gain from medications. Many antidepressants cause weight gain, which produces brain chemicals that reduce libido.
Poor sleep or lack of sleep. When you can’t turn your brain off at night, sleep will not be sound and rejuvenating. Lack of sleep is now being counted as a leading problem with libido and many health issues.
Erectile Dysfunction. Yes, many of the medications used for treating ADHD have sexual side effects, including ED. Make sure that this is not overlooked as it is a difficult symptom to address, so make time to make love in the morning when testosterone is at its highest for men!
Common Drug Treatments used for ADHD:
While there are many drugs to help with ADHD, many people may have the following symptoms while on these medications. The following have been reported with use of methylphenidate HCI and other stimulant medicines:
Heart-related problems: Sudden death in patients who have heart problems or heart defects; stroke and heart attack in adults; increased blood pressure and heart rate.
Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of heart problems such as chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting.
Mental (psychiatric) problems: New or worse behavior and thought problems, new or worse bipolar illness, new or worse aggressive behavior or hostility.
Especially tell your doctor if you take: Anti-depression medicines including MAOIs, seizure medicines, blood thinner medicines, blood pressure medicines, cold or allergy medicines that contain decongestants.
Dr. Joni Frater & Esther Lastique are the founders of www.LoveHerRight.com and www.PassionateLifeClub.com and the authors of "Love Her Right: The Married Man’s Guide to Lesbian Secrets for Great Sex!" Visit their sites for more information on their Love Warrior Challenge, live appearances, and seminar classes. At www.LoveHerRightStore.com use the discount code HITCHED for a 15% discount! To purchase their book, please click here.