The Side Effects of Not Taking Medication

ADHD Marriage: 

It’s common to have concerns about taking medications for ADHD.  “I don’t want to be medicated every day” is a common theme, as are concerns about side effects.  But not taking medications also has side effects.  Today I thought that I would try to cover some of the pros and cons of this difficult issue.

 

I will reiterate, as I do whenever I talk about medications, that I am not a doctor, so any specific questions you have about specific medications need to be reviewed with your doctor.  That said, I’ve been around the ADHD world long enough that I can share with you in a general way what medications may be able to do for you and, importantly, what the side effects of not trying medication can be.  This is something that few people think about, but which is really important to consider.

 

First, it is my firm belief (and that of Dr. Hallowell) that no one should be forced to take medication.  It’s their body, and they should have control over it.  I also see, however, ample evidence that people who should at least try medication often shy away from it from fear or, in the case of marriages, anger.

 

The dynamics of choosing whether or not to take medications are different when it’s two adults than when it is a parent helping a child decide.  Whether or not a spouse is willing to try medication can become a power struggle in a couple that is having difficulty around ADHD symptoms. This is because the request that one try medication when it is one spouse to another, is almost always embedded in a history of already expressed disappointment in that spouse’s behavior.  Deciding to take the medication, then, may feel like agreeing with the disappointment that has been expressed to date.  When I first approached my husband to consider taking medications after he was diagnosed with ADHD he became irate.  “I don’t need medications!  I LIKE myself this way.  YOU’RE the one with the problem with me, not me!”  He correctly interpreted my requests that he try medications as a comment on his behavior which also included my doubt that he was a person with whom I could stand to spend more time unless something about him fundamentally changed.  At that time, I wasn’t clearly differentiating between him as a person and his symptoms.  My anger, frustration, and despair were all contained in my request, making it a complex one for him to respond to dispassionately.

 

I know a lot about the positive effects of medication in helping treat ADD and, to be fair, so did he at that point.  He did eventually rethink his position and decide to see if medications could improve our situation.  His original response was emotional – and his response was about ME, not about my request.  When your spouse says “I don’t want to have anything to do with medications” it may well be the case that what they are really saying is “I can’t deal with the complex emotional issues underlying that request”.

 

So, what can medications do for someone with ADD?  Note that every person responds differently to medications so you (or your spouse) might find that some, all, or none of these responses holds true for you.  Medications may:

  • Increase focus and patience
  • Improve ability to connect and disconnect from tasks, even those you aren’t so interested in
  • Improve symptoms of anxiety
  • Diminish depression
  • Increase or decrease interest in sex
  • Help control outbursts of anger
  • Help control impulsiveness
  • Provide a starting point for changing key behaviors
  • Help you “get things done”

Generally speaking, trying medications gives your spouse a signal that you are genuinely interested in change, thus providing him/her with renewed hope and a willingness to “try harder” to modify behaviors of her own that are getting in the way of your relationship.  (And, as you know from my other posts, it is clear that the breakdown of these marriages is a two-way street, so having a non-ADD spouse commit to change is also important.)

 

The side effects of not trying medications are very real, too.  They include:

  • Spouse anger and frustration builds
  • Communication breaks down
  • Resentment builds when spouse doesn’t “give the ADD person a break”
  • Bad feelings on both sides lead to further disintegration of marriage
  • ADD symptoms continue unabated

Don’t misunderstand this last group of points.  A person with ADD whose marriage is falling apart does not need to try medication.  Medication is just one avenue for treatment.  He or she can also try non-medicinal alternatives, and doing so would also provide hope and incentive for a partner to participate help move forward.  But medications are helpful to more than 70% of those who do try them.  It’s important hear this statistic.  (In less emotional circumstances, most people would jump at a 70% chance to really improve their lives...)  The ADD spouse needs to take seriously the concept that not seriously acting in some way to treat his ADD symptoms may well result in a progressively worsening relationship with his spouse ending, possibly, in divorce.

Given those stakes, putting aside the emotional baggage and trying a medication has few drawbacks.  I would like to quote some of Dr. Hallowell’s writing from Delivered from Distraction (p. 244):
“…the effects of stimulant medication are immediately reversible by stopping the medication.  Depending upon which stimulant medication you take, the effect of the medication lasts from four to twelve hours – then it’s gone…In other words, giving one of these medications is not like doing surgery.  Surgery is irreversible.  And yet, many people think of taking medication as an irreversible event.  “What if it takes away my creativity?” many of my adult patients ask.  “Well,” I reply, “in that case your creativity will come back in a few hours.”  Whatever the medication does – good or bad – it will not last more than twelve hours…”

Dr. Hallowell spends a full two chapters in “Delivered from Distraction” writing about whether or not to take medications and, if so, which one.  I strongly recommend that anyone debating this issue read these chapters (as well as the rest of the book, if possible).

 

If you are an ADD spouse who thinks things will “just get better” or that things are "good enough" in spite of your spouse's pleading for change, please consider the effect that your decision not to try medications (or some other active form of treatment) will have on your relationship.  Chances are extremely good that your decision will hurt your relationship further, as well as become a roadblock for getting to the positive, healthy and supportive relationship you want.  It is your responsibility to address the symptoms that your ADD brings to your marriage.  For more on how not treating ADD can play out in a marriage, see my post about how both spouses can use ADHD as an excuse -  The ADHD Marriage Balancing Act.

Comments

this situation turned on its head

I have ADHD, married 7 years ago (at age 19), but was only diagnosed 2 years ago. Last March I went on medication for the first time. The only areas of life that haven't been affected badly by my ADHD are academics (I've always loved learning and hearing new stuff) and relationship with my husband. All other things, friendships, willingness to attend school/work, work experiences (or lack of), levels of self esteem and ability to be consistent, have suffered. I suppose I held it all together pretty well until I became a stay at home mom, even though I had frequent outbursts and meltdowns. There was no longer the imposed structure of college or work; it was just me, and empty house, lots of work to do, and a very needy and demanding child. I was diagnosed with ADHD while pregnant with my daughter, but after months and months of feeling like a caged and restless failure as a stay at home mom (despite everyone telling me I was a great mom, even if I was a horrible house keeper), I sought out professional help. The medication works GREAT. My personality is the same, my creative abilities are the same, I just have better control over my hyperactivity and impulsivity, and am able to make rational choices between tasks, rather than being lead by the thought of them. The trouble is, despite my husband's recognition of my ADHD symptoms and the resulting marital problems, he refuses to try to understand the purposefulness of diagnosis and medical treatment. Every time we get into the conversation about "me and my ADHD" he refuses to say it is the medication that helps me to be a more balanced/successful/less provocative person. He thinks it "could be" just a placebo effect, that it "could be" my attitude that has changed my behavior (and brain chemistry), not the medication. He doesn't believe I need medication, despite how upset he gets when I start to have frequent meltdowns when I run out or don't take it consistently. He also doesn't seem to understand how hard I tried in all areas of my life (with only limited success in relationships and vocation) while off medication. He says the decision to take the meds is mine, but that I should consider the potential (potentially unknown) side effects of taking medication over a long period of time. When he says stuff like this, I have no idea how to comfort him with the research and statistics he demands. What's more, I sometimes feel he resents me for taking the medicine and not "trying harder" without it. I also think he has a lot of baggage from all the years I didn't "pull my weight" before I started the medication. I know the article was talking about ADHDers who didn't want to take medicine, despite the urgings of their spouse, but I seem to have the opposite problem; despite my husbands reservations and obvious discomfort with my taking medicine, I don't want to stop. He isn't a medical doctor, and I realize this (my doctor thinks I need the medicine, obviously), but how do I bring balance into this area of our relationship without compromising my own mental health? The medicine I take has been so incredibly affective. I also know I went all my life without diagnosis and medicine, and that my husband's and my relationship was cultivated and grown with out it, but does that mean I should try to come off it because HE thinks without it things will "just get better" or become "good enough?" I am only now beginning to unravel all the hurts that have been wound up inside me due to undiagnosed ADHD. Would it be even possible for me to continue to heal and improve in life without it? Whenever I wasn't on it and tried hard, I was just so stressed out, frustrated, anxious and angry all the time. The never-ending cycle of motivation - obsession - burn out eventually always lead to giving up (not something I can afford to do with any relationship or other area of my life). What CAN I reasonably do?

Life Without Medication

Wow! Thanks for your post! First, and foremost, your instincts are right - it's your body, and you know what the medication does for you and doesn't do for you. It's great that the meds are helping you live your life more easily. Please don't let him convince you that somehow they are wrong. That would be like saying that high blood pressure medications are wrong because you can't see them working....In this case, at least, you can feel them working. And, no, it's not placebo effect.

 

Okay, now I've gotten past being mad for you (he means well, I suppose, but is really misdirected...what will happen if your kids end up with ADD as it is highly heritable? Will he make them feel badly about themselves, too, by telling them they "just need to try harder"? Boy, I wish I had a nickel for every time I hear that about someone with ADD!!!)

 

I guess it's time to start showing him the science. Dr. Hallowell does review some of this in Delivered from Distraction. Here are some quotes from Chapter 30: "The medications that we use to treat ADD, primarily the stimulant medications like Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and Dexedrine, along with the nonstimulants Strattera and Wellbutrin, are very safe (Dr. Hallowell's italics) when they are properly used...Most of us share a particular fear about medications: we wonder what might be discovered later on about a given medication that we don't know now.  There have been notorious medications - thalidomide a generation ago, and fen-phen more recently - that were approved for use, only to create disasterous side effects later on that had not been detected in the clinical trials.

But remember, stimulant medications have been in use in this country since 1937.  Most people don't realize what a long track record we have with this specific category or medication.  If this group of medications were going to create some kind of unforseen problem, they probably would have done so by now.  On the other hand, we do not have studies of people who have taken stimulant medication for many years, since we used to discontinue the drug during puberty, believing that ADD went away as you passed through those years.  Now we know that ADD often persists into adulthood, we may fear that some unforeseen side effect will develop...It remains to be seen if that will happen.  It is unlikely, however, because we do have long-term experience with another potent stimulant, namely caffeine..."  (Delivered from Distraction, by Dr. Edward Hallowell, pages 242, 243)

Dr. Hallowell goes on to point out that aspirin, largely considered "safe" has a proven track record that is far more dangerous than that of stimulant medications.  He agrees that there is no totally "safe" medication (even aspirin) and that every decision to take a medication (even caffeine, I suppose) should be weighed with this question - do the potential benefits of this medication outweigh the potential risks?"  Another way to look at that question is asking "what are the potential side effects of not taking the medication"?

 

This last question is the one that seems most relevant to your conversation with your husband, because you know what the side effects are of not taking the medication.  Your life is much better for you when you take the meds, much worse when you don't.  Your mental health is much improved with the help of these medications.

 

Your husband needs to recognize that his request is driven by his fears - perhaps fears that you will become sick at some point in the future, or that he will be left raising a family without you?  Whatever they are, his fears are creating a very difficult situation for you.  Please point out to him that he would never ask you not to take heart medication if the doctor suggested you needed it.  Nor, I am suspecting, has he ever asked you not to be on the pill, which does come with potential health concerns for the women that take them (though less if you are older and don't smoke).

 

Before your kids grow up, he needs to learn more about ADHD - that it is real, and that it is part of what makes you the wonderful, creative, sensitive person you are.  He fell in love with you because of your ADD (or at least in part because of it) and he needs to see how much this affects you - both for the positive and the negative.  He needs to see that you have been coping - by being in a structured environment when you were working, you managed to create the structure you needed.  Now, in a new environment (and one you care deeply about) you need to create your structure from within...and medication helps you do that.  It is a tool, nothing more.  A tool that helps you deal with symptoms that are no longer addressed by your environment.

 

Will you always be on medication?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Some people find that medications let them learn new skills that they then can use years into the future without the support of medication.  Some find that, even though they learn new skills, they still prefer to take meds because it just makes their lives better.  (My daughter says that the low dose of medication that she takes is the difference between "being able to get things done and not being able to get things done", which turns out to be critical when you are a student trying to finish your homework...)

 

There are other side effects of not taking medication.  One is that people with ADD who aren't focused, have a greater chance of being in a car accident.  A second is that you will likely feel resentful if your husband ends up "controlling" what you do with your body.  Third, if you are having trouble creating structure for yourself, you will likely have trouble creating structure for your children, too (without the meds, which is what you stated above).  That may negatively impact them in the future, too.

 

The stakes are actually pretty big here.  We're talking your mental health, your individuality, and the environment you are able to create for your children.  You have found only the first of many bumps that you will go through as a couple.  The good news is that it sounds as if you are on pretty good terms at this point.  So, take this opportunity to help let your husband know how important it is that he learn about ADHD, and stand firm about taking the meds.  Give him a copy of Delivered from Distraction and ask him to read some of it because it's important to you. Make sure he includes the two chapters that deal specifically with ADD.  Help him see what a bonus ADD can be for him, you and your family...and make sure he understands that all of these meds (except Strattera, which is new) have been around for a very long time and that you are in little danger of having "surprise" side effects.

 

Best of luck,

Melissa Orlov

had to change meds

My husband and I have had a rough year.  Thank goodness its better!  We had been thru a long period of arguing.  The fights would start over something trivial and I wouldn't even know what I had done wrong.  Then he would end up in a rage,leave, come back,leave etc.  I finally couldn't take it anymore.  It is impossible to live in a home where there is no peace and you don't even know why there can't be!!  I left him on 3 different occasions.  I only came back when he promised he would either get on medication or talk to someone.  He loves Dr. Hallowell's books.  In fact, our second month of dating he said," I have ADD and there is a book you need to buy and read about me." I've always respected him for that.  I told him that most couples in the book made it b/c they either went to counseling or tried medication. Well, things over time did steadily improve.  It felt like 3 steps forward and 1 step back.  I kept telling myself, "think of the positive, things ARE better"  They might not have been where I wanted them to be but they were heading in the right direction.  My husband tried stimulant medications and although they started out great he couldn't sleep and was going at about 100 mph. Then he tried to just treat the mood and anxiety with prozac and klonopin.  That combo really helped but to add more to our lives, we are trying to concieve and the prozac was not helping with that aspect.  He suddenly wanted to stop the prozac all together.  He now is going to try omega 3s and klonopin when he needs it.  What dose of omega 3's should he take? 

meds

I need help. My husband says he is tired of my meds and my doctors.  I'm afraid that if he doesn't take them things will get worse and end up in divorce. I'm becoming exhausted with this. 

not sure if thus helps, but I'll try

My partner wasn't diagnosed with ADD until he was older, so it took me awhile to figure this out with him.  He went through his entire youth feeling different and being outcast either by himself or by other people.  When I think of that, it touches my heart strings, and I can't imagine what that feels like.  Knowing that, I go through the same things as you, sometimes he's done with all this and thinks things aren't working, the meds aren't helping, the doctors don't know what they're talking about.  The first thing I try to do is be patient, and boy, do I know that's hard.  The second thing I do is ask him why he feels this way.  There's always bull in the answer, but the root is he's tired of feeling different.  In some ways, I can explain to him that we're all different and I know how it feels because I have my own medical issues that make me different.  There could be some co-morbidity going on with your husband, maybe his meds aren't enough and he feels like they're not working because other issues have started to surface.  I think the only thing you can fall back on are patience and understanding.  I keep reflecting on that young person always feeling so awful and uncomfortable, and it inspires me to keep wanting to talk and listen because there's some reason they're worth it.  This is a phase for him that could be a reflection of other issues in your marriage that only you know.  It's never easy with an ADD partner because sometimes the things they say can't be overtly interpreted because the words they choose aren't the words we would use to convey the same message.  Take a step back and don't take it personally, remind him of times when he wasn't on the meds, and just let him talk about why he feels this way.  Your words are important, never make him feel like he's wrong, he will only get angry. Just keep asking questions until he gets exhausted, then write down some of the things he said and ask him to read them when he's ready.  Ask him if this is what he truly feels and work from there.  It's helped us a lot.  It's not the end all, but it's a start.

Tired of meds

Did you mean your husband is tired of HIS meds and doctors?  Or are you also on meds which are causing problems for him in some way?  It seemed from your post of a few days ago that it was his meds that were causing the problems?????  If you could clarify a bit that would help in terms of trying to frame some advice.

As for the fish oil, Dr. Hallowell suggests in Delivered from Distraction that it is safe for an adult to take up to 5 grams of fish oil a day, provided it is pharmacy-grade (no toxins).

his meds and doctors

My husband doesn't want to take medication anymore.  He refers to them as "my meds,and my doctors" b/c I am the one who encourages him to take meds.  He used to self-medicate with alcohol. At the beginning of our relationship I was naive to think that this was okay. I have a different outlook now after being married for almost 3 years.  Although he thinks it helps slow his brain down, the side effects aren't worth it. Extreme moodiness, blackouts, the expense, yelling,etc.  So, I told him that he couldn't bring liquor into the house and that I would prefer he decreased his drinking.  I also changed my opinoin after I wanted to have kids.  I didn't want my kids to think that drinking liqour was ok.   Just recently he made a comment that he didn't want to be like his dad (a raging alcoholic) and he's actullay decreased his drinking to a few beers daily. He has been on medicine in the past.  He tried Adderall XR 20 mg and that was great the first 24 hours. Then he was wound up!!!! He stopped that.  Then later he tried Prozac and Klonopin but stopped Prozac b/c of the side effects.  He said he would try fish oil so I ordered him OmegaBrite.   I wish that he would find a doctor who specializes in ADD that could help him.  Getting the right medicine takes trial and error. This makes it harder b/c my husband gets frustrated so easily,  The hardest road block we have is that even though ADD causes him some diffuculty (focusing,etc.) He doesn't think that he needs medicine.  He says that he likes himself.  I've tried to tell him that he needs to meet me halfway.  I'll work hard for my marriage but he has to do his part.  I've left a couple of times for a few days for my own sanity.  Everytime I came back he agreed to take meds. Now that this one med is causing him a side effect, shouldn't he try another one?  I know that you can't help someone unless they want to help themselves but how can I find some happiness?  He's also been hinting that I "changed the rules" of our marriage.  I guess he's talking about how we used to drink and smoke together. Don't people change as they get older and more mature?  I feel guilty for changing the "rules" but I have to be honest with him about what I expect from him.

HIs meds/his issues

Okay, I understand your situation a bit better now.

Yes, you have changed the rules of the relationship, but that may be okay.  Did you marry each other because you both smoked and drank?  I suspect not.  I think there are other things going on here - like he thinks that you are taking over his life and his autonomy, which might be true.  It sounds as if you have moved into the next stage - getting ready for parenting - and he hasn't.  As you try to drag him there, he is resisting.  One way to resist is to put up a fight about the medications.  ("You are trying to change me, but I like me the way I am...and, by the way, what happened to the fun woman that I married?")

Couples often decide to move from "young adult mode" (in my opinion, this is excessive drinking and partying, not worried about responsibilities, self-centered) to "ready for family mode" (ready to put another person (kids) first in all situations, more responsible because you actually have responsibilities, more mature).  But perhaps your husband isn't really there yet.  Have you both agreed that you want kids, and the responsibilities that go with kids, or is he just doing it for you?  If you both want the responsibilities, then perhaps a way to approach this is to talk about what you both think being good parents is all about.  Setting examples?  Having a healthy home?  Being able to go out with friends to recharge your engines?  While you're at it, why not talk about your expectations about whether or not you will share baby care responsibilities?  What will that look like?  How will you feel when you are at home with the vomiting 6 month old and he's out drinking with his friends?  You may as well get some of this stuff out now...for while you can't predict everything you'll come up against, there is alot about parenting you can predict.  Like it's completely exhausting, and very hard on a marital relationship.

My husband told me when I asked him to take medication "I like myself just the way I am.  You're the one that has the problem with me, not me!" so I know exactly where you two are when you say that he says he likes himself.  But the RIGHT medication won't change him (if he can find one) in any way that is negative for him - only help him in a positive way...by DEFINITION, because if it changes him for the negative, then that is an unacceptable side effect and he would stop that particular med.

I handled the stage that you are now in by talking with my husband about the underlying symptoms, by promising to address my own issues (and all non-ADD spouses have issues that are contributing to the problems in the marriage) and by telling him that trying to find the right medication that might help us wasn't a commitment on his part to take meds forever - only a commitment to see what happened and to try.  Ultimately, he did it because he saw how miserable I was, and understood that while it made him a bit nervous, it was very short-term (meds out of body within 24 hours with no lasting side effects unless you have that very, very rare allergic reaction).

While meds may help, I would back off of defining the specific solution for him - that's his job.  If you take away his ability to control his body or have opinions about what he does with his body, you are really cutting him down at the knees.  Rather, focus on making sure that the two of you are seeing eye to eye on parenthood, and focus on what you need, as a couple, to do make things better.  You both have symptoms at this point - you probably have anger and resentment, while he has too much alcohol (a form of self-medication) and anger.  Work together to figure out what plans you will make to diminish your joint symptoms.  But each person is responsible for figuring out what their own solution will be.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't set boundaries.  It's important to live your life (and your marriage) in a way that is satisfying to you.  But I have to say you seem to be having enough issues that I would urge you to reconsider whether or not this is the right time to get pregnant.  Unless you are 45 or have a long history of family fertility issues, you might consider working out your issues first.  Kids, and the pressures that kids bring, will only make your situation more tense.

Finally, to find a doctor that specializes in ADD, go to the ADDA and CHADD websites.  There you can find local support groups, whose members often know of local docs who are good with ADD.

 

meds

My husband and I talked about medicine again last night.  He said that he missed the Prozac.  I told him that he could get back on it if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to hurt our chances of having a baby. We're not just trying to concieve, we just lost a baby in June.  So, being on a medicine that decreases your chance of preganancy is hard to deal with.  He also suggested trying another medicine, Abilify.  He's seen the commercials and feels as if he could have some bi-polar traits. He's definitely severely ADD, but they can run in pairs.  I told him that no matter what he did, he needs to realize that it may take time to get it right.  ADD,bipolar,antidepressive drugs  are all so individualistic.  He's tried meds in the past and just given up with frustration.  I encouraged him that no matter what he chose to do to please develop a relationship with a doctor that he trusts. Someone he can talk to about the pros and cons.  Hopefully, he'll eventually find some relief.

I know you are mostly

I know you are mostly refering to partners on this blog, but I have a quick question about my son and medication. My almost 9 year old son has been diagnosed with ADHD combined. He has been in therapy for 4-6 months, but we have been dealing with the issues for about three years. We have finally decided to try medication---this is not a light decision. The Dr. put him on Ritalin, 5 mg, two times a day. My son had one 5 mg dose and when he was coming off the medication, four hours later, he developed headaches and threw up. The Dr. said that means he can't take any meds. I'm very frustrated because the Dr. isn't even trying any different meds, and from what I understand, one med may work while another doesn't. I pushed him on the issue, but he didn't budge. I don't know if he is accurate in his decision, or if he is refusing to try other meds because my son has medicaid. Any insights or advice would be much appreciated. Thank you, Jennifer

Not sure what to do.....

When I was first married 3 years ago, my wife knew about my ADHD but I was never diagnosed for it. I had a friend who was diagnosed, and I said well I am just like you and I researched it.

While we were dating, my Mother even asked my wife (in front of me no less) "Are you sure you want to marry him, he is hard to deal with" on about 3 ocassions. Supposedly she did.

Before I was officially diagnosed, I had tried addarall and hated the feeling of being drugged. So when after 2 years of marriage when the fights were so frequent and my ADHD was in question, I decided to go see a doctor.

I was almost just going to the Doctor, so people would shut up about me NOT having ADHD. I just wanted to go see the Doctor and say "Ok, give me a diagnosis, so I can say to my wife I TOLD YOU SO"

Don't get me wrong, I was also there to try medication to see if maybe I could find the miracle pill that would make our marriage better.

I was getting sick and tired of being the problem all the time and not being good enough so I said fine I will take medication.

I tried ADDARALL first. It worked for the 1st 4 days, but this is how I felt on it. I felt like I was in a coma but able to move my eyes around, and slowly function. I couldn't sing if I song I loved was on the radio, I couldn't laugh, I didn't make fun of anyone anymore. And I didn't move and I was soft spoken. It was actually a real low dose... the lowest possible.

It worked for 4 days, and then it stopped working. The doctor told me to double my dose, and it still didn't work.

Next was Ritalin it did nothing for me.

Next was Citalopram ..... Citalopram is an antidepressent. The doctor wanted to try a different side of the brain. Citalopram worked with the fidgitiness but the sexual side affects were futile. Lets just say the train never stopped.

After taking it for awhile without it doing anything for my ADHD, but screwing me up sexually, I got off of it. For awhile after, I lost all interest in sex. It has come back quite a bit, but not what it was before.

 

Anyways.....

 

I called the doctor and told him all of this... and this was his response "Well.... those drugs work for 85% of people. I haven't actually come across anyone that a stimulant hasn't worked for. I cant help you anymore... sorry"

 

He said that I can go to a Pysciatrist and try to get heavily medicated, but I dont have the money to do that. I wasnt thrilled with the 50 dollars a month it would cost for the damn pills to begin with.

 

Anyways, my wife has had enough of me and doesnt know if she can handle it any longer. She signed up for this site yesterday, and I saw it and laughed, She always thinks that I will get mad if she is reading how to handle me better on the internet.

 

I guess Im at a loss. I don't know what to do. I just want to be loved for who I am, and I just want her to be happy. Last sunday she was so upset with me and how I was acting, that she literally went to the medicine cabinet, grabbed an Addarall and put it in my mouth. For the rest of the day, I sat there on the couch, not moving, in a coma. (Since I have been off of it, it works temporarily every once and awhile) I told her numerous times during the day "I hate this feeling... I rather be the other way than this way"

People who don't have ADHD will probably never be able to relate to the feeling that Addarall does to you like that.

Someone said it best when they told me (while I was on it) "It is like someone reached in your chest, and took your soul"

Medication may work great for some, but what if it doesn't? Will you still love that person?

That is where my wife is.... Can she love me if I never changed?

 

I am open to suggestions, but we no longer have health insurance and I wont pay 200.00 a month for drugs.

I have had 4 jobs in 3 years. (2 were not my choice) not sure if I will be at my current job long enough to get it...... I am really struggling on what I need to do for a career without having schooling.

Im 27 and sometimes I feel like a real failure, because of the expectations that are put on me by other people that I cant seem to reach.

RE: Not sure what to do...

I am 34 years old and just had a friend diagnosed with ADHD. I thought I may have had it all these years but this was an eye opener. Having no insurance myself, I can't just afford to go somewhere and get tested so I looked online for local studies for adult adhd. I found one about an hour and a half from me but they pay you when you see them so that will cover my gas. I went to my first appt last week and they did the assessment. I have to wait to discuss the results but I know what the answer is. The study is for strattera and it's long term effects. Since the drug has been around a while and it's not a stimulant, I feel fairly comfortable with the study. They will give me the strattera for 12 weeks and then from there it's a 50/50 chance whether I get the medication or a placebo. But I figure this way at least I'll know what it's like to be on the medication without paying for it. This would be the only suggestion I have for you other than look for clinics in your area that may provide you with assistance for free.

Are meds enough?

I'm a 47 y/o male, and I have been treated for ADD about 3 years now. I've 'known' I was afflicted since probably my early 20s but just never got a diagnosis until it affected my job. I've been on Strattera, fast-acting Ritalin, and now long-acting Ritalin, and each med did some good but over the course of about 5 - 6 months the effects diminished. Increasing dosages helped, but again only for another few months. Next time I see my therapist, I am asking him about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an adjunct to meds. I am not currently undergoing analysis or any other therapy, although I suspect analysis could probably help with my low self-esteem issues. I've tried on my own to develop coping strategies: carrying a notepad, snapping rubberbands on my wrist when I find myself 'drifting', multiple calendars, having friends remind me of important events, etc but can't seem to stick with anything longer than a week or so. I believe a cooperative, comprehensive behavioral therapy program will go far. Think of it as a 'quitting smoking' treatment for ADD! Wish me luck! :-)

For Mike

We all wish you luck, and you are on the right track.  Researchers have looked at the effects of meds alone vs. meds combined with other treatments and have found that the latter is significantly better.  Here's one reason why - there are lots of changes that you need to make to your life to accomodate your ADD - meds don't FIX your life, they only give you a tool to help make it better.  So you might be able to focus better, for example, but better focus doesn't lead to better organization UNLESS you spend time learning new organizational skills.  Organization is something that everyone (ADD or not) learns at some point in their life...but people with ADD don't learn organizational skills when everyone else does because they can't focus long enough to do so.  SO, when you finally get some focus, THEN you have to learn the skills that you missed.  Meds can't do this for you, you have to put in the elbow grease yourself.  BUT, meds CAN provide enough focus so you finally can learn the skills you missed...over time.

I often hear people say they think the meds are wearing off...but then I wonder if it's true or just a shift in perception over time.  My husband, for example, can't "feel" his meds as they work, but if he goes off of them everyone around him notices immediately.  I wonder if the same is true for you...or if you expected that the meds would improve your life in certain ways rather than just provide a tool so that you could do the work to improve your life???  (Or, it's possible they don't work over the long run, too, I suppose....)  Ask your spouse for input about how she thinks they are working and how you are doing in the areas that you think the meds originally worked in.  You might be surprised by her answer (or not).

Also, you may not be on the right dose of your meds...

In any event, good luck with it, and thanks for writing about it.

Melissa

I have a question about the

I have a question about the treatment for ADHD. My husband has it but was on adderal but became very addicted to it...for 8 years. What other options are out there that are non-stimulants?

Medications etc.

My husband has ADHD and when his doctor would ask him if he thought the various ADHD and depression meds she prescribed/tried, had helped him - if he noticed any changes, he was unable to evaluate this.  As he had a fairly demanding job, at that time, I suggested and made a simple check list for him.  It listed such "issues" as, heard music in his head, increased/decreased focus ability, dizziness, increased/lack-of energy, etc.; all he had to do was check appropriate box off.  He did this a couple of days but then "forgot".  Finally after 2-3 months of the doctor not getting any information if the medications were having any effect she said, "I can't prescribe medication if I don't know if it is working". 

Is an inability to self-analize (unless there is some pain involved) an ADHD symptom? 

Can Anyone Help Me On This?

Okay, so my husband just started taking 54 mg. of Concerta, and was told to take it in the morning, due to if he takes it later, he may have a hard time going to sleep at night.  Well he starts work at 5:30 a.m., and thats when he takes it.  Fortunately his employer & fellow employees see a major improvement, and gets to see this fabulous side of him, while he's on his meds.  Well, heres the problem, I did notice an improvement.  He doesn't "shake" his leg anymore, and he seems a little calmer, but he still has the same issues w/communicating, problem solving, taking initiative, etc...  When we went to his doctor last week, and I reported that I didn't really see a major improvement, especially on "focusing", and him continuing to be argumentative, the doctor then went on to state that the meds only last 12 hours.  By the time he comes home around 5-6 p.m., the meds have already worn off.  Grrreat!!!  The doctor did not suggest for him to take anymore meds when he comes home from work.  I'm assuming that it'll be too late, & since he starts work early, and needs to sleep, that it probably would throw him off, & make him irritable the next day, if he doesn't get enough sleep.  So...what do I do?  Two days out of the week on the weekends when he doesn't work, of focusing on what he needs to work on to resolve years of problems, doesn't cut it.  Can anyone out there thats knowlegeable on this help me out? 

Here I was, thinking what a breakthrough we had with the meds, and that things will start slowing turning around.  But its basically still the same.  I know that therapy is a must along w/the meds, but by the time the therapy appt. comes around, I'm so disgusted w/him, that I don't want to waste anymore of my time on dealing w/his ADHD, & because I told him that I wasn't going...he told me to cancel it.  Doesn't that prove that he doesn't really want to commit to getting better, not only for us, but for himself?  If he was truly serious about controlling his untreated ADHD with therapy and to learn tools on how to undo the devastation it caused, then whether I go or not, wouldn't he want to do this for himself?  Why is it that I have to hold his hand w/everything involving his ADHD?  I already researched numerous doctors, scheduled, & attended the appointments before we found the 4th one, who really helped us now w/the right meds.  My husband has a substance abuse problem w/pain killers...although he's in denial.  I was very skeptical about this Concerta, when I researched it.  So I got his employer to dispense the meds accordingly which I'm now not worried about him abusing it.  I find it very strange though, that when he has to meet the doctor who prescribes him the meds, he will go see that doctor w/out me, without question or concern.  But when it comes to therapy, I have to go, or he won't go, & makes a big fuss about it.  Am I wasting my time here?  We are still seperated, and at this point, I just want to move on w/my life w/out him.  I really hate to look back & regret though.  Any suggestions as to if I should still hang in there?  I know that its a decision that only I can ask myself, but has anyone experienced something similiar who can help me?  Perhaps just sharing a simple story that perhaps maybe they've experienced a revelation, that there is hope.  I just want to know if he's still playing games, and just wants to string me along further.  I'm so sick & tired of him leaving me hanging!  It's been seven years of hell of untreated ADHD, and only a month ago he just started consistently taking the Concerta.  I'm really burnt out, and it kind of scares me that I don't feel anything for him anymore.  When he's gone, I don't miss him, and actually, I'm finding the joy in the little things again like how I used to before I ever met him.  I actually can laugh at stuff on t.v. again.  I surprise myself w/that, because I've noticed that I'm coming out of the numbness, and it truly FEELS good...to feel happy again.  PLEASE HELP ME!!!

Concerta +

I really did have the same experience when my ADDman started taking Concerta. No fair, right? I told him I could tell his meds wore off when he got home. He tried to take the meds right when he got to work so that the effects would last longer at home but then the psych added an antidepressant, Wellbutrin I believe, and that mix really seemed to work. Now though, he has not been able to maintain an erection. Which at this point what do I care? So, whatever, we research a bit and read about Gingko and he started to take that. 60mg 2x's daily. He's found that helps with his energy levels and alertness so much so the psych actually cut his Concerta dose in half. Just been a week or so and his behavior seems okay, not sure about the other thing. ;)

He'll at least take his meds but he won't go to counsel. Says it's just talk. Makes sense, I can't really believe anything he says so, I figure it wouldn't affect him much or he'd just forget anyway... the gingko info was interesting... and apparently the psych said he'd heard good things about it. It was supposed to work in about a month but he seems to think he noticed inside a week. It was easy enough to try and he was cautious with the dose, after a while he went to 3x's daily.

I'm like you, when he's gone, I don't miss him, and I know all about numb...

Let's try not to be hopeless, but at least you're in Hawaii, winters in the Midwest are not good for me.

You Still Got Your Sense of Humor

Thanks for replying Clarity.  lol  It's good to hear you still got your sense of humor.  I'm getting that back myself.  Sometimes I feel bad.  I want him to "think" I'm trying to be funny, but actually I can admit that I say things "out of humor" to make him look stupid, out of my frustration.  What the hell...to me he wouldn't know the difference anyway.  At this point...I could care less what he thinks anyway.  I do have my moments though from time to time, when I allow him to visit, where I do "try", to think of how to better things.  I find that I have to stay away for a few days to refuel my energy again.  Slowly though, like I stated, I find myself not caring. 

So did you folks replace the Wellbutrin w/the Ginko?  I know he has a full bottle of Wellbutrin lying around somewhere.  He was supposed to take it, but claims that it wasn't working.  Like I said I have major "trust" issues.  He lies so much, I don't know if its true.  I really feel that it doesn't make him feel high, thats why he didn't want to continue taking it.  I've read and learned just about everything about Concerta.  This is the first medication that was prescribed to him that is a controlled substance, and he's been wanting to get Ritalin/Adderall from the beginning.  The doctors we were seeing before just wouldn't prescribe it to him.  Thats why I'm not surprised that he looks forward to, and is consistenly taking it everyday.  I know for sure this med, he's not going to lie to me and tell me that he's taking it.  I made his employer dispense it though, cause I know that he'll abuse it if not.  Has your husband been on Concerta for 3 years?  What dosage did he start with, & how many mgs. is he taking now?  I hear you eventually build a tolerance for it thats why.  I really would like to see mines take Ginko too instead of upping his meds.  The doctors giving him something to look forward to.  He says that if the Concerta doesn't work, he'll give him Adderall later.  I'm burnt out w/these doctors too.  I told him that my husband has a substance abuse problem w/pain killers...although he denied it, but the doctor still prescribes him this.  I'm pretty sure he's getting kick backs on it.  It's like I have to fight off the world.  Gee..whats worse?  Being married to a druggie or ADHD?  BURNT OUT!!!  I guess "I" gotta research this Ginko thing.  I hope I don't have to go to war trying to get him to try Ginko.  I don't know when his follow up w/the doctor is, considering we just saw him last week.  Like you said...who cares about his erection problem...like it matters anyway. lol  Anyways, I should look into it real soon though.  He's already lying to his employer about how much he should take.  Lucky I was there at the doctors to relay his dosage accurately.  I'm so tired of having an adult child.   

Hahaha...yeah, I guess I can't complain about the weather...but it really s-cks when I can't appreciate it, due to this dark cloud hovering over my head.  I am though gonna start incorporating walks and swims w/my daughter to get me better.  Day by day girl...we gotta make it happen for ourselves.           

Three meds

Four if I count the cholesterol meds he's taking. Sorry, I don't know the details and I thought he told me Concerta will not build up a tolerance. But that's what he said and you know, I can't believe everything he says. I quit doing so much for him so as to force him to be personally responsible for himself and give me a break! His meds have been tweaked a number of times and it might not even be Wellbutrin anymore but I'm sure it's an antidepressant, that really helps the irritability though not the erection. The ginkgo is supposedly good for ADD and that other thing without side effects. I wish there was more information/studies/research on it. We thought it would be worth trying and so far, so good.

I've caught my guy lying routinely and, he believes his lies. Yeah, major trust issues.

Good luck with the Ginkgo if you go for it!

Newly Married to a husband with ADHD and Bipolar I believe.....

Thank God I found this site!  Came across it while searching the internet trying to research what may be wrong with my husband as he is destroying our marriage.

We just got Married in January 2010 and already he is threatening divorce, name calling, complaining about the kids, blaming me for all the wrong in his life and so on and so forth.

My nerves are shot!  His family doctor was prescribing him 300mg of Wellbutrin each day but now he is on one of his deviant days and won't take them.  Keep explaining that you can't take this medication when you want to it must be daily.  He is being so bullheaded!

How am I going to get this man accessed for ADHD, our counsellor says he has it but he can't diagnosis for this condition.  I believe he is bipolar also as the highs and lows show that.

Please help any suggestions?

full evaluation

You can request that he get a full neuropsych evaluation, but obviously can't force him to do it. Get a good doc to do it - some of the treatments for ADHD actually make bipolar worse, so you need to know what you are dealing with . Also, stand up for yourself and don't let him bully you or back you into a situation that is bad for you. Ask the counselor to strongly recommend your husband get an evaluation so that you can all make sure you are working with full information.

Thanks for the info....I

Thanks for the info....I almost hate the calm at home because you know the storm will happen soon enough.