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Spouse possibly has ADHD - not sure what to do next

Hi All, I’ve literally just joined this group within the last few minutes, but have been researching for some time along with my husband about him possibly having ADHD.  He’s been seeing a psychologist for the following reasons:
- lack of motivation
- procrastination
- feelings of being overwhelmed
- unable to make decisions
- inferiority complex (especially at work)
- feeling like an outsider, not “one of the gang”

Changes I’ve noticed in him:
- general sadness
- a great disconnect to situations and those around him
- not participating in conversations or hearing people when spoken to
- forgetfulness
- lack of motivation
- always on his phone, even when he’s surrounded by people in a room.  almost seems like it’s an escape or something for him

He’s been treated by his GP in the past with antidepressants, which did not work, so he eventually was weened off of them.  His current psychologist has recently referred him to a psychiatrist because he’s scoring highly on questionnaires for symptoms of ADHD.  I think he has suspected this in the past, but is now looking to seek more active help. 

We have 2 young daughters, 4 and 8 months old, and I’m concerned about how this may impact them.  Not so much now, but down the road.  It’s unclear to me how I should be dealing with this, what initiatives I should be trying to take with my husband, and to be honest - sometimes I lose my patience because I feel like he should be doing more to try to be more present in general, but the more I read the more it seems that it’s out of his control at the moment. 

Looking for general advice and words of wisdom I guess if anyone has anything to offer. 

Thanks in advance!


This is a trying time for you and him so being impatient at times is quite normal but bless you for your inquiring spirit and the patience that you do have.

ADHD can be quite disabling even though it is, more or less, invisible. So you are right about it’s being out of control at the moment.

You are describing a man who knows and feels all is not well but does not know how to make it well. The things he says and does are not quite right and he does not know how to make them right. He is inattentive, distracted, and lost.

Going to a provider or clinic which specilizes in ADHD is a very good idea and joining ADHD support groups is also very helpful.

Your husband can thrive with a clear knowledge of this syndrome and the continued empathy you have shown. The good news is that there are legions of very happy, productive and successful people with this diagnosis.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Nov 08, 2016 at 10:05am

There are so many adults who describe taking antidepressants for years with not positive results, only to later be diagnosed with ADHD, presenting with the overlapping symptoms with depression.

The great news is that he knows something is off and he’s taking steps to try to remedy it. You are way ahead of many other spouses to ADHD in that regard. Since one has to want help to accept it, he’s already started the process successfully.

Since the psychiatrist suspects ADHD, I’d support him in requesting an evaluation. If he’s diagnosed with ADHD, then treatment becomes available to him, and that can make a huge difference.

Lastly, read all you can about ADHD. The more you understand it, the easier it will be to deal with.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on Nov 09, 2016 at 2:26pm

Hello there, your post caught my eye as your description of your husband also describes me. I’m also considering trying to get a diagnosis when back in the UK so I can primarily try medication and see if it makes a difference and maybe access some CBT therapy. However the main reason I’m replying is that I’ve been trying to alter my lifestyle to improve how I feel and have had some success. So I thought I would share. So, I’ve found drinking does me no favours at all. After getting drunk (which makes those social occasions I often hate easier) I’d feel anxious for days afterwards. I’m also trying to do lots of sports and get out of the house. If he’s like me he’ll have plenty of hobbies. I find socialising easier if I’m doing something else rather than just sitting. Thirdly, I researched supplements and diet so I’ve been taking vitamin b, omega3, L-tyrosene and protein. Can’t say if they really work or not but I’m generally feeling sharper. Loads of sleep too.
In regards to work, i ‘ve been through a fair few jobs where I just didn’t fit in. I feel uncomfortable with larger groups and over sensitive to unpleasant people.
Reading the forums has really helped and why I’ve replied to you as he’ll realise he’s not on his own and its not his fault for feeling different.
Right, I’m losing concentration, sorry if this has turned into an autobiography, my wife says I’m self obsessed. Please let me know what transpires and feel free to get your husband to contact me as it appears we’re in the same boat!
All the best

Posted by father dougal on Nov 11, 2016 at 12:04am


I was wondering if your husband’s symptoms of depression began or became significantly amplified after the birth of your first daughter?

I say this because adults with ADHD find many creative ways to manage their strengths and weaknesses to be able to flourish in the university and working worlds.

The transition to having young children, while challenging for everyone, present particularly overwhelming difficulties for those of us with ADD.  The lack of sleep and daily demands and worries of raising a family double the amount of concerns a person has. 

From my own experience as a young mother with adhd, it took me longer to adjust to the demands of parenthood than it took many of my firends.  I just wasn’t as adept at juggling all of the demands on me,  and being very aware of my overwhelm, I often felt like a failure.  Now, looking back, iworking on my stress levels while adopting new practices and

Posted by Alyfab on Nov 12, 2016 at 1:45pm

looking back I realize I wasn’t a failure, it just took me some time to work on my stress levels and aquire the new skills I needed to be effective as a parent as well as outside in the working world.

Your husband probably is a bit depressed because adhd makes it hard to assimilate new demands, and that concerns him, making him less effective in all arenas of his life. But over time he will be able to see that he has many strengths that will balance out the challeges he faces.

My husband who does not have ADHD was always very patient and supportive of me and that made all the difference in helping me find my way.

All the best, A

Posted by Alyfab on Nov 12, 2016 at 1:52pm

In response to original question from j5 ...

I initially thought you must be my spouse, as your description matched my current situation exactly, apart from the ages of your children!

I’d be interested to know what advice the psychiatrist has for your spouse. I have just been referred by a psychologist to a psychiatrist for the same reasons, and he said it looks like ADHD but more evidence to gather ...

Let us know how you go.


Posted by Paul Alexander on Nov 14, 2016 at 4:54am

Your description of your husband fits me to a tee. Three years ago, I had been suffering very badly with my symptoms, and then I had a honest panic attack. At that point, I decided that I needed to get a psychological evaluation done. I had completed several online assessments which all pointed to ADD - no “H”, I’m definitely not hyper. When the assessment was complete, I was diagnosed with mild to moderated depression and mild to moderate ADD. I took my evaluation to a psychiatrist who wanted to treat the depression first, even though I told her I thought the ADD was causing the depression, but she was the doctor, so I took the anti-depressants she prescribed. I didn’t get any better, and I hated the way they made me feel, so I weaned myself off after about 3 months. Fast forward to just a month or so ago. I am in a different position at work, so I’m not as overwhelmed, but my symptoms are still the same. So I went to my general practitioner with my report. After a long talk and a urinalysis, he prescribed Focalin XR 10 mg. Can I just say, WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I wish I had not hesitated so long. My brain is so much “calmer”, and I feel so much more confident because I’m not fighting with my brain to get things done or to stay focused. My house has never been cleaner or more organized. Even my assistants at work asked what was going on because I’m more organized and together with the day’s activities. Some of my coworkers said I did not “look” like I had ADD, but having ADD is not something you can necessarily “see”. It’s more of an internal struggle, and as an adult, I know what people expect to see, so I always worked really hard at putting on a good show, and I guess I was succeeding, but it was SO hard to keep it up. I just got so tired, so I said enough is enough and went to the doctor. I know I’ve written a book here, but please be patient with your husband. He is truly struggling. I hope he finds the right doctor who will work with him and help y’all get this all straightened out.

Posted by jsksgirl on Nov 14, 2016 at 7:49pm

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