I need some advice, I think my boyfriend might have ADD/ADHD and I don't know how to bring it up to him.
We have been together for 13 months and they have been hard, at first I noticed he could be very moody and extremely sensitive and we would argue sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. It was back in Feb that I started looking on the internet as he has a very short attention span and when add popped up and I read it, it sounded so much like him.
Let me tell you a little bit about him -
1) He always has to be doing something on computer/DVDs/iphone (as soon as his eyes open in the morning he will be straight on his iphone) even sometimes before we go to work (we both work together, that's how we met)
2) He is always in a hurry and often snaps at me if i am taking my time (although for a woman I am quick to get ready and have become even quicker since I met him)
2) He is very impatient, he hates waiting in queues, he always moans on every journey about other drivers who drive under the speed limit etc and I can see him getting wound up more than you really should. If he has to find anything on the internet, he gives up quickly.
3) he's moods can change in a heartbeat, one minute we are happy then say for example the lights turn red at a traffic light he will become extremely agitated (that happens every time time the lights turn red, he always says there effecting my life)
4) He blurts out things that are inappropriate i.e. in a supermarket or restaurant or at work.
5) He has a very low sex drive, is sensitive to light and sometimes touch.
6) He spends impulsively
7) He has a bad memory i.e. we went to watch a film and before it started he asked me what we was watching because he could not remember.
8) if we have a argument I just wonít hear of him for a few days, he just shuts me out and these can be other things that are so small, they should of been sorted straight away (we don't live together)
9) We are both sensitive, yet when he is winding me up and I keep saying to him to leave it and he can see I am getting angry he wonít stop. Yet if I do that to him he just wonít talk to me. Is that a sign of ADD?
10) I feel he is always in competition with me over everything from games, if I buy something he has too, I am looking for a job he does. He always has to win at everything. I feel like his opponent a lot rather than his girlfriend. Can anyone tell me if that is a common trait of ADD?
11) one minute I have his complete attention then within a second he is distant, moved on. We can be speaking of something and then he will come out with something and I will just wonder where that came from.
12) He is constantly craving new interests.
13) He has OCD (although not diagnosed) his room is extremely tidy and he is constantly tiding his drawers/under his bed. (His dad has ocd and his mom)
14) He interrupts me a lot.
15) 2 weeks ago he was told by a private doctor as having anxiety; he had 2 attacks while we were away on holiday.
16) He worries about everything i.e. illness, when we go anywhere he puts his keys/wallet in my bag and every time we go back to the car he asks if I have them. He has recently had two fillings replaced and has now spent a fortune on dental products and is constantly brushing his teeth many times a day after he eats anything sweet (which I feel he could ruin his teeth by too much brushing)
17) He takes a lot of what I say personally, when I donít mean it and that is why i am worried about bringing this up to him. I have spent hours on the internet researching add, I just need some advice from someone on here whether it is worth bringing up. In my heart I think I know the answer already, I just need a little push from someone.
18) He has not really bothered with my family. My dad said to me if he saw him in the street he would not recognise him. We spilt our time between his and mine and when he comes round he goes straight upstairs, he met my family once last year, I donít even ask him to family do's, as I know he does not want to be there. But what hurts is I know his family well have been to stay with his dad. My family are important to me and when I see my dad and stepmom with my sisterís bf laughing and joking, I wish that was mine. I feel they feel he is ignorant. Is this common of ADD, not wanting to mix with partnerís family?
19) He is very forgetfull and does leave thigns to the last minute
20) before we got together, he was out every weekend, now he wont touch alcohol, says he cant handle the hangovers. never goes out drinking with his friends (im not complainig, just find it strange) even on my birthday we ended up leaving town early and i was upset because he had booked a dentist appointment early the next day, i felt it was to get back at me because things had been a bit strained between us, i feel like that a lot that he does things to hurt me, or is just because of the way he is he has to take the first appointment he can get, because of his anxiety, worries.
20) He is very fussy on what he eats, lives of pizza and chicken all the time. Although I have tried to get him to try some new things. He has been like that since he was young and he told me he got a lot of stick of his family for it. I have got him on multi vitamins but he forgets to take them.
BUT he can also be extremely loving, spontaneous, thoughtfull. He will buy me cards for no reason to say he loves me or send me sweet text messages and when we are good he is loving. He is one of the most loving people I have ever met. He chased me for months before we get together, I was not interested having just gotton away from my ex. But i fell for him hard and in the begining he made me feel like the only one in the world, he would call me ever night before he went to sleep, send texts all though the day, buy me presents and said he loved me after a short time. I feel now that could have been hyper-focusing? I am worried that he could get bored of me and move on, but then he will mention something about marriage and kids with him.
I feel really confused. Some days it feels like a battle with him and itís really hard and if i am honest itís getting too much to handle on my own. There is no one I can talk to about this.
I need to bring it up to him, but how? I just want him to understand i am not blaming him; I just want to help him. Iím not perfect, I can be moody and sensitive and a bit insecure (hey when your fella is constantly on his iphone, you mind does wonder......) I have handled things wrong in our relationship; i am not putting all the blame on him. I thought about emailing him, so I can say what I need to say without him jumping to conclusions, is that the cowards way out or do I need to grow a pair of balls and speak to him?
There is another reason why I have not mentioned it to him, he is currently in the process of joining the RAF and as you know you cannot join if on medication and i am worried, can you just survive on therapy or is it a bad idea him going in?
He is at the final stage and i am so proud of him, but he worked extremely hard for months. He is very intelligent and I want him to do well.
He sounds a lot like my older brother. He can be such a mean nasty jerk sometimes! But other times, he's just the sweetest guy in the world. And yes, my older brother has ADD.
If it were me, I'd flat out tell him, "Honey, I think you have ADD."
As far as the RAF.... no, he absolutely does NOT have to get diagnosed in order to help him.... that's not to say he can get on meds without seeing a doctor, because besides the obvious reason that IT'S DANGEROUS, if the RAF is anything like the USAF, they do random drug testing all the time, and he'd get caught. Just wanted to make that perfectly clear so that there are no misunderstandings!!!
But there are natural ways to lessen the symptoms of ADD, so that he doesn't have to get on medication. Regular exercise, regular sleep, and a more natural diet are three very easy things he can do that will help. I've posted about it at least a gazillion times on this board, so I'm not going to post it all again right now. But if you think it's something you would want to try with him, let me know, and I'll post it.
RE Marisuela's non-med ADHD control strategies: Very effective. BUT given the severity of your friend's symptoms and assuming he could in short order put all of them to work, I doubt if non-med only would be enough. ADHD meds help us rewire our habits. I think the non-med approach could work very well after a few years of med therapy.
Let's deal with the here and now.
1. I hold a valid private pilots licence that is absolutely worthless. The moment I began taking ADHD stimulant meds was the moment that passing the physical became impossible ... forever. Our FAA wants no pyschoactive medication in any pilot. Even high BP meds gets you the boot in the USA. Don't even think about meds if RAF is to be in his future.
2. The easiest and perhaps biggest improvement could well come from adding greens i.e., green vegetables to your friend's chicken and sugar diet. His current diet can cause ADHD like symptoms.
3. Exercise is most likely not an issue with a RAF candidate. If it is, a good daily workout works wonders. Put the greens in the diet and workouts on the schedule and your friend likely will become hornier than a toad. Two problems solved.
4. RAF could be the best thing for him or the worst. Most with ADHD find highly structure environments beneficial. I, though, on the other hand don't do institutions well at all. I'd say the cards are stacked in your favor with the structured environment proving helpful.
Another example of an ADHD exception: Background noise and music help me focus. Typically, anything moving in my field of vision is most distracting.
There are all sorts of highly effective ADHD work-arounds. While simple in principle, they are difficult to teach and as difficult to master. I needed a psychologist mentor and continue to call on him when I decide to blow myself up. Hmn, I mean that in a figurative way. Not KABOOM.
Rosequartz's post should not be taken lightly. The list of ADHD imposters is a long one indeed. Bipolar and BPD and every other mental disorder cause attention problems. They really should be ruled out first. Both the medications and the therapies differ greatly.
ADHD is a disorder that can devastate lives. Do not take it lightly either. I would be remiss not to highly recommend that your friend see a mental health care specialist for a formal diagnosis. No one can fix what's broke before knowing what's broke.
Last edited by addprogrammer; 09-16-2009 at 04:17 PM.
Reason: After dinner add ons
Although I'm generally on board with most of the other posters here, I'm going to be a little contrary. Don't take my post as unsupportive, I feel your pain, I really do. I feel that it's necessary, however, to present some different points of view.
It seems likely that your friend suffers from ADHD or another attention disorder. Likewise, it appears to me that he suffers from one or more comorbid conditions, as is common with ADHD. Comorbid conditions that seem likely in this instance are (obviously) OCD, possibly depression and perhaps a social anxiety disorder. Each of these should be addressed by a professional if possible, as each may have a serious impact on his life, though each is certainly treatable.
I'm rather uncomfortable with the suggestion of Borderline Personality Disorder. It is possible that I don't understand BPD well enough, but to my knowledge, it is characterized by pervasive instability in mood as well as one's opinion of others. I feel that for BPD to be indicated, the disruptions in your relationship would have to be more extreme than described, including multiple breakups and reconciliations. Furthermore, I would expect that he would be willing to spend time with your family on some occasions while rejecting them on others. BPD is also correlates very highly with self harm, and risk of suicide, and extremely risky behaviour is high. Your friend's apparent lack of self harm or extremely risky behaviour (self mutilation, binge eating, binge drinking, drug abuse, high risk sexual behaviour) seems to indicate that BPD is unlikely. Your friend's mood swings seem consistent with ADHD and anxiety, arising from situations that ADHD sufferers often find difficult to handle.
It seems more likely to me that he suffers from a social anxiety disorder brought on by years of untreated ADHD. I can tell you from my own experience that ADHD has made maintaining friendships virtually impossible throughout my adult life, I'm simply not 'tuned in' or dependable enough for people to stick with. This effect has often led to bouts of depression, a low sense of self worth, and an increasing unwillingness to look for friends, as this seems a rather futile endeavour. Furthermore, I find spending time with groups larger than 2 or 3 virtually unbearable, regardless of whether these groups are family or not.
All this said, be careful how and when you broach this subject with your friend. Again, from personal experience I can tell you that many ADHDers that make it into adulthood without a diagnosis simply don't want to hear about it. My little brother and my father both have ADHD in spades and even two years into my treatment are not willing to consider the possibility that they have the disorder. I have faced a good amount of snide ridicule from my brother for my own attempts to receive treatment, and any discussions of his own state have degenerated into shouting matches followed by several days of cold shoulder. My father simply asks me why I can't accept the fact that I'm lazy, just like he is. Remember to be gentle and take your time with this issue, he has likely spent a good portion of his life internalizing the recriminations of others about his lazy, crazy nature. He has spent years feeling inadequate and frustrated with the defect with his personality, and he will likely become defensive when confronted with the possibility that the fault lies in his brain.
A couple of notes:
I agree about the diet and exercise, both will help, without question.
The structure of military life will very likely be beneficial as well, many ADHDers thrive in structured environments.
One apparent irony of the USAF and RAF (unless things have changed in the last 2 or 3 years) is that use of Dexedrine is very widespread. 'Go Pills' are very common in the air force for long flights or cases where sleep deprivation is possible, to the point that pilots have claimed that it is required rather than voluntary. Dexedrine use also seems to be a common and convenient scapegoat in crashes and friendly fire incidents. The irony, of course, is that you can't take it for its approved purpose, but you have to take it off-label.
One apparent irony of the USAF and RAF (unless things have changed in the last 2 or 3 years) is that use of Dexedrine is very widespread. 'Go Pills' are very common in the air force for long flights or cases where sleep deprivation is possible, ... .
So are the 'Stop Pills.' Nothing has changed. To quote Tom Cruise's character Maverick "I have a need, a need ... for speed." More than high velocity fighters and motorcycles are implied. Stopping all types can be problematic. 'Stop Pills' to the rescue. Kind of like thrust reversers.
BTW, Top Gun is one of the very few movies that I watched more than once ... four times I believe. A most ADHD friendly flick. Nothing quite like throwing an inverted "bird."
On the BPD issue: I'm with you, Thu, that it is not likely. I know someone with full blown BPD. Numerous times I've seen him praise biz associates one day then curse them as worthless the very next. The rapid change in disposition can look like an ADHD game Dr. Amen identifies as the "I say the opposite of what you say" game. The disagreement brings stimulation to the ADHD while the irritation drives away the opponent who is often a spouse or good friend. The ADHD sufferer sees the unwanted consequence and responds with contrition. The love to hate switch of the BPD appears to be permanent.
No doubt about it. It is always best to get a formal diagnosis from a professional before attempting repairs including do-it-yourself repairs. The shame lies in the difficulty in finding mental health professionals.
Yes, double caveats, warnings, flashing red lights and sirens: Trying to help someone get help is most often received with hostility.