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Couples With One ADHD Partner

Is there any hope?

My husband was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a young adult and did not like the effects of medication so, he quit taking them, and has self medicated for quite sometime now.  He has finally quit self-medicating with illegal drugs and acknowledged his ADHD and that he needs help.  We have had a very tumultuous relationship for the past 15 years, and now have a teenage daughter who has also been diagnosed with ADHD.  She is beginning to act out and I was quickly approaching my breaking point. 

My husband has since said he would go talk to someone about his ADHD but has yet to make an appointment with anyone.  It only adds to the stress that he was laid off from his job, and we really cannot afford to make any sort of counseling appointments at this time. 

Is there any hope for a one spouse ADDer relationship?  I mean, surely there is some couple making it work, right?  If so, HOW DO YOU DO IT???  I need support, help, advice, etc.  Any and all information/guidance would be greatly appreciated.


Hands down the best resources I have come across so far is Melissa Orlov’s site and books.

I hope he realizes he has to take the first step before it is too late.

Posted by SteveV on Jan 03, 2014 at 5:44am

Someone asked the same question a few months back and received many, many responses. You can read that thread here:

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 03, 2014 at 7:21pm

The best hope for your husband and your daughter is to find the right medication, which means appointment, not with a counselor - you can’t talk ADHD away because it is not a behavioral issue it is a physiological issue so talk therapy does absolutely nothing while their brains are symptomatic.  And all ADHD brains are going to be symptomatic until you are on meds.  The medications help their brain to connect the dots so that they can make different behavioral choices.  And there are many more medications and doses - this is a condition that has been most studied in the last 15-20 years and there has been leaps and bounds in progress on treating it.  And it is the most treatable psychological condition.  There is no downside to seeking medical assistance.

The quick answer, no, unless your husband is willing to seek medical help there is no hope.

But you also need to help your daughter.  She needs to see a psychiatrist to diagnose and get her meds and start on some behavioral modification - because the statistics for teenage girls with ADHD getting pregnant are staggering.  This is the time in their life where a bad decision will change the course of their life absolutely.

If you can make the appointments for both of them (and you probably will have to), yes there is hope.  Medication does not make all things go away but it does help.

Best of luck.

Posted by YellaRyan on Jan 04, 2014 at 12:13am

Thank you all for the responses.  I will check out Melissa Orlov’s resources as well as the other posts. 

My daughter has been on Vyvanse for a little over a year, and I can definitely see a difference when she is on her meds.  Thank you for the perspective regarding talk therapy.  I never really looked at it from that angle, but it makes complete sense.

Posted by jleigh on Jan 07, 2014 at 1:24am

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