Hi everyone. I found this board while doing a google search and I think it's great that I can talk to people who have an idea of what I'm dealing with.
My husband of five years had ADD as a child, and judging by the lists of symptoms I've seen, he has adult ADD. He doesn't have all the symptoms, but at least half. Anyway, in all this time we've been together, I've never really known much about ADD. Whenever his mood would suddenly become sour for no reason, I just couldn't figure it out and thought it was just him simply being a jerk. Sorry if that sounds harsh. Then I read that it can be a symptom. Is this correct, and how do you deal with it???? My husband can be wonderful and loving, in a great mood, then suddenly for no apparent reason, he becomes...well, a jerk. He'll fight with me out of nowhere and I'm left stunned, confused and ******. He did this on Valentines Day...had flowers delivered to my office, we had a date planned that night, everything was great...then I swear, maybe an hour after I got the flowers and he was happy, he suddenly got mad at the stupidest things, started making ridiculous accusations, and our night was ruined. I just don't know how to handle these outbursts when they happen. We just end up in a huge fight because it's like he's pulling insults and problems out of the air for no reason. I usually end up sobbing all night afterward, not sure what in the world I did. Anyway, sorry for rambling, but is this normal for an adult with ADD, and is there anything I can do? Sometimes I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around him! But other than these frustrating occasional outbursts, everything's pretty okay!
Hmmmm..this is a tough one without knowing more. First off, I should say that I also have adult ADD, and I think my husband is a saint for putting up with me sometimes. I can get extremely frustrated and irritable, I probably border on downright witchy sometimes, usually because I just donít have the patience (in essence, the attention span) required to deal with something. He is a very patient man. For instance, we had to fix a closet door the other day that keeps falling off. For me, if it is not taken care of in about 30 seconds, I just feel as if Iím going to jump out of my skin. He can patiently work at something until it is fixed however. I guess not only am I frustrated with having to stand there and cope with this project, Iím a little bit resentful that he can be so "normal" and I act like such a basket case.
At the same time, however, I try to recognize (often easier said than done) that the problem is mine, not his. Maybe you could talk to your husband and tell him you sympathize with his frustration, but that he needs to realize that he cannot take it out on you. Is he on any medication for the ADD? I am on Ritalin, and it works very well though I posted on another thread that I'm a little fed up with the "roller coaster" effect of when it wears off, which does tend to make me rather tired, confused and irritable. I wonder if on Valentineís Day, something happened that afternoon at work to frustrate him and he just went into a tailspin? I admire you for being so understanding, but I'm not sure how much you can do on your end to stop these mood swings of his, other than encourage him to find medication, counseling and coping techniques that will help him to keep his frustrations "compartmentalized" Ė i.e., not let a discouragement at work affect his relationship with you and so on.
JoJosMommy, I was going to ask the same thing about medications. It sounds like he's on something or, if not, could he be doing other drugs that could be exacerbating his anxiety? For instance, does he drink coffee or smoke cigarettes or marijuana? Does he drink alcohol? Also, like some children, he could have food allergies or be hypersensitive to food additives, sugar or sugar substitutes. Trying to eat healthily, cooking from scratch, could be something to try, at least for a couple of weeks. We are what we eat, afterall and some of us are far too sensitive to some of it.
Sorry that you have to deal with his problems. You don't deserve that, but it's possible that he has no control over his thinking, either because of medication or offending food additives or drugs.
i am ADHD and i'm pretty volatile myself, probably bordering on bipolar sometimes, particarly at "that" time.
doesn't matter, though, what my difficulties are: i am fully cognizant that i'm feeling sensitive, cranky, crabby, and bitchy (never mind witchy - my family would die of happiness if i stopped at witchiness, lol). it's not up to them to understand or tolerate or even forgive - it's up to me to get the hell out of firing range or just keep my yap shut. that's also what i taught my daughter - it's not up her hubbie or the rest of us to excuse her moods, it's up to her to keep out of sight or do something to cope until it blows over.
Thanks for the replies In response to the questions, he was diagnosed with ADD when he was 7, and was on Ritalin until he was about 12. Then he went to special schools because he didn't do well in regular public school classes. He's on no medications whatsoever, doesn't smoke or do any drugs, and barely ever touches an alcoholic drink. He has an occasional cup of coffee (like maybe twice a month) to help him wake up that day, but other than that, he doesn't drink coffee. He's not a big sugar-eater either. When I cook, I use Splenda when I can. He doesn't drink soda and uses sweetener in iced tea, when he drinks it, which is rare. So I'm pretty sure it's not food related.
I wish that it was just an isolated incident on Valentine's Day, but it's happened many times prior to that. What is so frustrating is that these outbursts are always out of nowhere, and seemingly for no reason. They take me completely by suprise, and while we're arguing, he'll say things that are completely untrue and make no sense at all. And he's not physically violent, but he can be downright cruel in the things he says (such as "you're not a good wife or mother", "nothing ever makes you happy" etc.) I'm a sensitive person to begin with so these comments really hurt. I just want to pull my hair out.
Can anyone tell me what kind of medications are available for adults with ADD? And if there are side effects? Pardon my ignorance, but I thought Ritalin was for ADHD and hyperactivity in children? My husband isn't hyper at all, in fact most of the time he's pretty quiet and in his own world.
FWIW, I'm a 42 y.o. male and found ingesting ANY amount of Splenda could turn me from Mr. Nice Guy to a ******* in no time. Once I eliminated all forms of artifical sweeteners, my drastic mood swings practically went away.
That's Thatís interesting what the last poster said about Splenda, I drink diet sodas all the time, I wonder if thatís part of my problem? HmmmmÖmaybe I should cut that out and see what happens?
Anyway back to your question. From what youíve said about your husbandís past, it sounds like he is indeed exhibiting classic signs of ADD (acting out and having problems in school, impulsivity, etc.). At one time, researchers thought that ADD was primarily a childhood disorder, but theyíve now found that in a large percentage of cases it persists into adulthood. The medications prescribed for adults are the same as those for children, though they get a lot more press with kids. I am a 30 year old female on 30/mgs. of Ritalin a day. It doesnít do everything Ė I do not think it would solve your husbandís problems completely, but it might help with some of the frustrations which are unrelated to you that he seems to be taking out on you and it will help him to be less impulsive with his words. So there are a few options. The short acting stimulants are similar to one another and seem to be the most effective for most people. Those are Ritalin, Adderall and Dexadrine. Although they are amphetamine-based medications, in ADD patients they tend to have a calming effect, rather than a "speeding" one that a non-ADD person might experience. The only way I can explain it (based on my own experience) is that the meds allow the brain to focus on one thing at a time, rather than our having to deal with the chaotic, racing, disorganized thoughts that are usual with ADD and extremely frustrating. Then there is a long-acting form of Ritalin called Concerta, which is the same medication but itís time-released over 24 hours. As I mentioned before, Iím thinking about switching to this at some point because the ritalin can give a sort of up and down effect that seems to be increasing for me. Then there is Strattera, which is a non-stimulant med. I donít know much about it, but my doctor has not had much luck with it.
Iím so sorry for what youíre going through! I am also quite sensitive, and my husband sometimes says hurtful things before he stops to think, and it is devastating to me. Iíve reminded him that it is selfish and irresponsible to lash out at someone to appease your own anger, because then that person (me or you) is left extremely hurt by a comment that cannot be taken back. My policy, and I expect no less from my husband, is to take full responsibilty for how I feel. For instance, I will never say "you MADE me angry" because no one can MAKE me feel anything. If I feel angry over something he did, instead I go for a walk or something until I feel calm, then I talk to him to make sure whatever hurt me doesnít happen again. This way I donít say things that I canít take back. Iím sure your husband loves you very much and feels awful about his impulsive words, and he needs to know how much it hurts you. What he is doing is verbally abusing you, and that is not an option in a marriage because left unchecked it will destroy your sense of self-worth and your relationship with him. At the very least, he should treat you with the same respect he would treat a co-worker or acquaintance. You sound like a very nice person, and I really hope that he will start by going to a doctor and talking about this.
Thanks for all your help, Sylvia. I'm going to try to talk to my huband and see if he will agree to go to the dr. and maybe gets meds. Can a regular physician help out with this, or will he just send him to a psychiatrist?
You're welcome. I only see my regular primary care physician for treatment, not a psychiatrist. However, I think that I would probably get more comprehensive care (such as behavior modification, coping techniques, etc.) if I did go to a mental health specialist -- but it's just more than I can afford under my current insurance.
actually, you said something interesting: he drinks coffee to "wake up that day".
stimulants act as sedatives for those of us with ADHD. when i can't get to sleep, i have a massive cup of coffee or i take a caffeine pill. i'm thinking that if caffeine acts normally on him, he's not ADHD. what you're describing is also characteristic of bipolar disorder, which is often diagnosed in children as ADHD.
Last edited by threenorns; 03-04-2006 at 06:06 PM.
Actually, whenever he had a cup of coffee, it was mostly just because I offered it to him. If he ever woke up really tired, I'd say "you want a cup of coffee?" And of course, I thought it would help him wake up. I have no idea how it really effects him. But like I said, he has a cup of coffee very, very rarely. In fact, I offered him one Sunday morning and he said no, that every time he tries to have a cup, his stomach hurts. Maybe it actually did make him more tired and he just never thought about it or made the connection.
I'm sooo glad I stumbled onto this site!! I was actually contemplating whether or not to leave my boyfriend of 1 yr because he acts just like your husband, and I can't take it anymore!! I know everyone else has said the same thing about symptoms, but I just need to vent out!! My boyfriend, whom I live with was just diagnosed a couple of months ago with ADD. He always new something wasn't right with him, that he couldn't concentrate, and had bad memory problems. He said that he always had to put extra effort into doing something that someone else could do easily. After 36 yrs he finally had his answer. I have a psych degree, so it was easy for me to know that he had it from just observing him over so many months.
The thing I can't deal with is that he can go from a nice, affectionate, loving person to a mean, cruel, insensitve jerk for no reason. He will get mad at the smallest thing, and usually will blame it on me. He won't bat an eyelash to something huge, but if dinner isn't made when he is hungry, or if I accidentally leave a light on he will get so angry and for hours. Then he will get out of his mood and expect me to be happy with him, as if nothing happened. If I have an angry reaction to his outburst, than that makes things worse and we won't talk for days. Which is what is going on this week. We've been mad at each other for 3 days now. I know I should be more patient with him, being a psych major, but it's hard when you're dealing with it every day. It doesn't help that he's a cop, so his stress level is double a normal person's. He isn't on any meds, but I'm starting to feel that if he doesn't try something soon, I'm going to leave. I don't know how other people deal with this. He tells me that it's nothing personal towards me, that he just has to vent out. But it is personal to me, there are so many times when I would just go to my room and cry all night after one of his outbursts, but now I just get mad myself which worsens things. Sorry this is so long, but its the first time I've let all this out and have found people to relate to.