ADD and laziness

Does ADD has anything to do with being lazy and sleepy all the time? My fiance has difficulty getting up early and sleeping at an early hour. He always finds it hard to be on time for work. Im so scared that this will cause him problems at work and i know that the ADD affects his performance. How can i help him without beating him down or making him feel bad about himself? Is this laziness due to ADD or is it something personal that is only due to plain laziness???

for MKH

I found that my adhd prevent me from doing things becuase I felt overhwhelmed that i didn't know where to start and when it came down to it, nothing really ever got done, not from being lazy, just didn't know where to start and never started! Not sure if that is the case with you or your fiance but that is what I found. You could help help him by suggesting he get treated for his add if not already, myabe meds or thearpy/counsoling. Just my thoughts


lots of people with ADD seem to be on a "stay up late/get up late" type of schedule.  Perhaps your fiance has a job where he could adjust his hours a bit to fit that?  Another idea would be to put an alarm clock (loud one) across the room where he has to actually stand up and get out of bed to turn it off.  (You shouldn't do this for him, though...this should be his decision).  Some people with ADD need 6 or 7 different clocks (I'm not kidding) to get them going.

Another idea - does he like coffee?  Maybe you could start a ritual of a nice cup of coffee in the morning that helps him get out of bed.  Start to think creatively about helping him, rather than worry about labelling him...

Also, please don't interpret this as laziness.  That's a moral judgement.  He may have physical reasons for sleeping in, or psychological ones (like feeling overwhelmed or depressed) that have nothing to do with being lazy.

Coffee ?

Just wondering about coffee.   Melissa you mention bring the ADHD person a nice cup of coffee in the am.  I read somewhere that coffee is contraindicated for ADHD folks.    Am I wrong ?   I used to bring my wife coffee the way she likes it, to bed in the AM.   Did this for a long time and eventually she fell right back to sleep in a couple of seconds (not kidding) and coffee would get cold by the time she was ready to get up several hours later (noon or mid afternoon at times).


The alarm clock thing.   Yeap!   She has one that goes off every morning now at around eight am.   She turns it off, falls asleep and gets up much later.  

The lazyness part is one I fell for soon after marriage.   I really thought my wife was being lazy in every aspect of our marriage, including not engaging in the marriage itself but leading a "single's life".   I ended up doing a lot more then my fair share of household chores plus work a full time job while she stayed home all day, slept, played on her laptop, watched daytime shows, etc...   I really thought she was lazy.   Not long ago, (after she was diagnosed with many ADHD symptoms by a licensed Psychologist), she told me that she does NOT have ADHD and for me to back off now.   She also said that perhaps "this is who she is", meaning personality wise I guess.   So again, I thought if this is not due to ADHD or another brain disfunction, then it must be due to lazyness.   Can you understand how confusing this has all become for me the non ADHD, responsible victim ?

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you.

Is laziness ever different from ADD?

renoir911 your situation sounds very familiar.

My wife is currently in the process of being tested for ADD.  Since we have been reading “The ADHD Effect on Marriage”, my wife has been trying much harder and improving her behaviour, and I have been making a big effort to turn a blind eye where her actions can be associated with ADD symptoms.  I see comments on this blog saying not to interpret ADD symptoms as laziness and so, where ever I can associate her behaviour with impulsivity, procrastination, inattentiveness, or difficulty organising herself, I let what I used to call laziness pass. 

However, I sometimes see behaviour that I am not able to associate with ADD symptoms.  Surely ADD doesn't give someone carte blanche to do as little as they want and blame it all on ADD - there must be a dividing line between what is caused by ADD and what really is simply laziness.  Is anyone able to help me to identify this divide.

Adjusting hours a bit to fit in

My wife is currently in the process of being tested for ADD, so we're still in the learning phase. We're reading Melissa and Ned’s books and finding them extremely enlightening and helpful. We finally have an explanation for the problems we have had for the past 17 years.

I work full time as the sole breadwinner and, for most of the past 10 years, my ADD wife has been on maternity leave (although our youngest child has been at school for 3.5 years). My wife also seems to live in a different time zone (stays up until 2 AM and sleeps in until 8:30 AM or 11 AM on weekends).  As she doesn't have an outside job, Melissa’s suggestion of adjusting her hours to fit in should be easy – the school lunches could be made at 1AM instead of 8:55 AM (while trying to get the kids out the door).  The only problem is that she considers the extra hours in the evening and at night to be relaxation time -- spent watching TV, chatting with Facebook "friends", and reading. So the working hours that she looses in the morning are replaced by relaxation hours at night.

My husband is like this too

He shut down after work and all I got is "I'm tired, I worked all day" like I'm supposed to give him a medal. When I was working too plus going to school, it was really hard. He couldn't bring himself to do any work in the house. "It's too late." He can't do housework while he's at work, of course, and he can't do it at night because it's "too late." Apparently, he can't ever do anything. He felt he could do it on the weekends, but who has enough dishes to not do any from Monday-Friday? He's not working now, but still following the same pattern. "No, it's too late to do the dishes." When can he ever lower himself to do what needs to be done?

Like you, I am not sure where ADD ends and laziness begins. 

The Kitchen Sink...

I Hate stuff piled in the sink, which I awake to unless I take care of it before I go to bed... If I handle dinner, then it does not get piled in the sink in the first place :) I usually clean out the items in the sink and load them in the dishwasher before I leave for work in the mornings. Of course I have to re-load the dishwasher because others just throw stuff in there any old way, instead of organizing the load to clean the maximum amount of dishes. I'm kind of OCD about these things... Order is efficient :)

My wife works as hard as I do, so I try to split the duties. We both have our specialties that we take care of. It is not always 50/50, but I believe it averages out.

Lazy can be applied to any of us, ADD or not...

Up late and up first...

Since my diagnosis two years ago and starting my Adderall regiment, I need less sleep and feel better. I target bedtime at 10:30pm, it's usually closer to 11:00pm and I'm up after 1 snooze at 4:45am to walk the dogs, get the coffee going, get the kids moving during school and make sure my DW is up on time. I've always been the wake up guarantee. I absolutely HATE being late, especially for work, and the chaos of rushing around in the morning only sets me up for a failure somewhere, so I like getting up early. Is this weird since I'm the ADDer?

Regarding "Me Time" at night... When the kids are in bed after 9:00pm, I figure that I've been busting my hump since 4:45am and it is time to relax. I need some down time, doesn't everyone?


I have to wonder about the relationship you are in if these are the things you are saying. 

I doubt it has to do with something as judgemental as the word lazy....and more having to do with OVERWHELMED by life in general.  That and some people have different internal clocks.  But, that aside, it is very easy for those of us with ADD/ADHD to wake up and have a constant mental barrage of things to do -- every where you go, everything you's another thing that piles up.  And since one of our things is PERFECTIONISM, I have found that if I can't do it perfectly right then (along with all the secondary stuff that goes with it) I am less likely to do it.  When I get overwhelmed, I shut down and go into avoidance mode. 

Lists are helpful for me....there is a sense of accomplishment. 

I also have obtained quite a few coping mechanisms over the years.  They help to a point.....but it's how I got through college and grad school and the academy.  I also have a job that I absolutely LOVE which makes a difference.  I also see the obligation to show my children (one of whom is ADD/ADHD) the importance of good work ethics.  Showing does more than harping.....which is how I got mine.  I also work in a profession that is very conducive to ADD/ADHD! 

Self esteem is also a factor.  It's hard to get excited about anything when you hate yourself and are constantly telling yourself (with the others) how you should be less like you and more like someone who has no idea what we go through every day.  How good can it feel if the person who says they love you basically thinks your are a lazy pig and thus at least marginally worthless.  Is it possible that he is simply living up to the expectations that he has been given all his life?  We are a pretty intuitive and perceptive group......we are our own worst enemy.....and sometimes it is just easier to live up to the expectation of failure that everyone has for you by not trying then to actually struggle while you are being doubted and fail anyway so that everyone can say "see, I told you your a looser/failure" "why do you think this time will be any different?" or "you might have succeeded if you had done it like Joe/Sally did". 

You can not sustain a shallow relationship with an ADD/ADHD person.  Heck, relationships now aren't relationships at all -- it's a convenient and mutual cohabitation that is easily disposable if it should require any work at all.  My husband of 11.5 years (with only a short time on medication or diagnosed) is also my best friend and soulmate.  We have been through hell and back not from each other but as a team against the world.  Its not perfect.......none is!  I have watched too many relationships be destroyed because of communication (lack of and wrong kind), expectation of change of the other, lack of empathy (self and other), lack of understanding (self and other), conditional committment, manipulation to be in a "position of power", absolutely unrealistic expectation of the relationship, lack of knowledge about the work involved in maintaining a relationship and unwillingness to do what it takes. 

These things are of great interest to me......and it's really sad.  Fantasy relationships where all are perfect and happy and fairytale crap is just that -- CRAP!  You say that he needs to work on his ADD/ADHD issues to satisfy your expectations; well, you need to work on your knowledge and understanding of ADD/ADHD as well as empathy.  Just like me, he is who he is!  If you don't love him because of and in spite of who he is now, you never will.  He will evolve through life with changes here and there.  But, if your expectations of him are not pretty close to where he is now, you will always be disppointed.  Then he will percieve himself as a failure (no matter if you say it or not) the Self-fulfilling prophesy is in place and the relationship will be as destroyed as the day it started only with you hating each other. 

Good luck --

It's good to here from

It's good to here from someone with ADD to describe how they are feeling.  Please go into more detail about what goes through your mind during the course of the day.  I am completely supportive of my ADD husband but he is in denial.  I want to know more about what is happening inside his head.  What is it that leads you to not be aware of major events happening around you?  How does your "constant mental barrage" take precedence over participating in family life?   What is it that makes you not interested in sex and/or not be aware that you're not having it?

It's good to hear from the

It's good to hear from the other perspective.  I am completely supportive and empathetic to my ADD husband but he is in denial.  I want to understand what is going on inside his head.  Can you tell me what the "constant mental barrage" is?  What are you thinking about instead of participating in family life?  What makes you not aware of major events happening around you?  How are you not aware that you are not having sex?  More, importantly, how were you able to understand that you have ADD and did something about it?

fuzzylogic72's picture


I really enjoyed reading your post; you stated it perfectly, and I agreed with every single word; it's like it was right out of my own journal! That should be mandatory reading for everyone on this site.

jacqui's picture

You are so RIGHT!

I love what you have wrote. Every word was so true. You brought up past memories that I went through as a teenager in life. " You can't do it". And when your Add, and not sure what's going on with you. That's the last thing you need to hear. Someone basically calling you lazy or worthless. We are our own worst enemy. Having trouble understanding the way the "world " thinks everyone should learn. And if not your a failure or stupid. Which is not  true. We are deep thinkers, very creative and most of all we are smart. We just learn in different ways. I have always accepted myself and I teach my daughter to do the same. And that she can do anything if she sets her mind to it.

ShaneG's picture

I know I'm 2 years off from

I know I'm 2 years off from when you posted this but felt replying wouldn't be all that late.. I hope:

As a 34 year old ADD Husband I can relate... I have been ADD my whole life but only just found out and started getting treated recently.

I to have a hard time getting up in the morning. I just don't have the energy to or mental alertness to do it. I want nothing more then to be different then I am. I have a younger brother who is a hard worker, gets stuff done and is active. I see that and am really envious. I bet your fiance would love to have the drive to do things. To actually lock on and pursue something. it could be cleaning out the basement to learning guitar! He wants to, even gets rolling on it then "fizzles out". It's not really "Lazy". Part of the brain of an ADD'er doesn't burn/use as much glucose as the rest of the brain. So it literally runs slower and is more sluggish. I think, in my case anyway,  years of this has had the side effect of having me used to not doing stuff and being what could be called Lazy.

Help him. Learn more about what AD/HD actually is. Once you start learning about "executive function and ADHD" things will start to click. Just don't try to make him go see a Doctor or that "someone". Pushing hard on an ADD'er has the opposite effect, especially when male ego comes into play LOL! When he has that moment when looking back over his life and the pieces snap into place he'll want help. He'll also need support because his whole life has been filled with being told he "could do better" or "isn't trying" which he'll now see as something that could have been fixed... he's going to be angry, depressed, sad which he has to deal with. You can't fix the past but what's wrong with tomorrow? I'm a little all over the place here but you should get the point. Feel free to reach out if you have questions. I'm not that far down the road from where you fiance is figuratively speaking.


Same story as above, except I did not find out until I was 43. Two years later, things are very much improved.

Great advice...