ADHD plus depression/anxiety

A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with ADHD. He wwent on Straterra, but had little success. Recently, he has been having some major anxiety about work. He is behind and has lots of backlog, but so anxious about it that it makes it hard to accomplish much. I am also seeing what I think are some depression signs (sleepy, tells me that he feels life his life sucks all of the time even though logically he knows it doesn't). We went to a psych a few weeks ago who felt like the ADHD was causing the backlog at work, so prescribed Adderall 2xs a day (20 mg) The first couple of days, it worked well. But, because it wears off and you can't take it too late in the day, the anxiety is still there in the evenings. After a few days, he said he wasn't sure if it made a difference or not (I realize that it could be too low of a dose and that meds take a lot of tweaking) He says he is not happy doing anything (laying in bed, doing activities...nothing) and is tired and grumpy all the time, We go back to the dr. this week, but I just wondered if anyone takes ADHD meds plus an antidepressant/antianxiety? DH doesn't hold a lot of hope that anyone can help him. I just feel awful for him and really hope we can find something sooner rather than later.

My husband takes an ADHD

My husband takes an ADHD medication and two or three antidepressants.  It is very common for anxiety and depression to coexist with ADHD.  

ADD and Anxiety

Before my diagnosis, I was having terrible anxiety attacks which really lead me to go to the doctor. Adderall was an immediate help to me. I was prescribed 60mg per day and found that taking 20mg when I wake up at 5am, 20mg about 10am, then my last 10mg (Usually don't need the full 20mg) around 4pm. I push the last dose off to help me later in the day, at home, and the late dose does not make it difficult to go to sleep, if anything, the longer I stay up after the last dose it becomes more difficult to sleep. People with ADD often have trouble going to sleep, so it makes sense that if the meds have worn off it is more difficult to sleep.

I'm impressed that you

I'm impressed that you remember to take meds 3 times a day.  I just don't understand why my H can't seem to remember his once a day no matter what I do to make it easier. He takes Vyvanse, Wellbutrin and celexa, but only remembers maybe 3 or 4 times a week so they aren't very effective because he isn't consistent. 

I think it depends on the

I think it depends on the personal motivation of the individual taking the meds to actually 'be different'. If you've got someone who really doesn't feel deep down that they need meds, need to change, need help...then they're not going to take the meds seriously. My husband isn't a 'forgetful' type of ADHDer, as a general rule...he takes his meds religiously. He was in a horrible place 4 months ago. I suppose he has 'seen the light' to some degree. I also know he's motivated by wanting to do well in his career and wants to perform at his best. In my opinion, someone who isn't taking their meds regularly really isn't taking their treatment seriously...and I would imagine the inconsistency makes the behavior worse. 

You know I read what you

You know I read what you wrote 4 times...i think you nailed it. Thanks.  The only area where his ADD is a problem is home life, our relationship and his relationship with our kids. He knows the meds help him at work, concentration is easier, but he has held a successful job without them for 20 years. He seems to remember them when he had a big project or deadline at work. It makes me feel that home life is not as important... Even though i have said many many times he needs to change his behavior at home, he doesn't and doesn't think its him...its the boys and I that need to accomodate him.  Recently I told him things needed to change or we needed to separate, he remembered the meds for 2 weeks, now is back to not taking them.  I think you are right....until HE thinks he needs to change there is no way I can MAKE him.

I wish someone could

I wish someone could articulate the thought process/reason behind the motivation to be 'better' in every aspect of their lives with the exception of personal relationships. I sure can't. For years my DH admitted he had ADHD, embraced the diagnosis, yet denied that he was like anyone else with ADHD (especially when I would mention this site and how similar his behaviors were/are to many of the other ADHD spouses here...judging by how common the complaints/issues were for us non-ADHD spouses). 

I have learned the hard way not to speculate about what motivates behave, badly or well. I don't know for sure why he's taking his meds religiously but I imagine he feels better in SOME way. Lord knows he gives it about 3 seconds...and if something he takes doesn't make him feel better, he stops taking it. Maybe he got so horribly out of control that it scared him enough to make him realize he has to try something else. As much as I hate to, as I said, speculate about his motives...I do not think 'saving our marriage' has anything much to do with why he's taking meds...except maybe for the fact that he knows that his behavior over the past few years, especially since his diagnosis, has pushed me to my breaking point and that he is completely out of second chances. 

I wonder if it isn't a matter of not feeling home life is as important but instead a matter of pride? I certainly am familiar with the 'accommodate me/accept me as I am'  attitude and by now he should be as familiar with the 'I won't accept things that hurt me...EVER' attitude. Truth is, in these situations we all DO need to change. Maybe not in the aspect that you need to accommodate him, but in the aspect that we need to be less reactive, less codependent, and in some cases less accommodating. 

If and until he truly believes and feels the pain he's causing his family is real he won't be motivated to take his meds. He took them consistently for 2 weeks most likely to avoid feeling the pain of losing you. How many times do we see ADHDers here who are about to lose their spouses and only THEN do they finally 'get it'? They finally realize the pain they've caused. I am not sure how you get from point A (only taking meds when it seems to benefit them) to point Z (taking meds because they want to be a better husband/father/person)...but I do know that you're right, it won't come from anything you do...aside from letting go and letting him face the consequences of his choice not to treat his ADHD consistently. 


I seriously don't understand why an ADDer would not be motivated to take the meds. When the meds work, you feel great for maybe the first time you can remember, without having to be in one of your adrenaline rush  moments. The brakes have been tapped on your brain and you can sit back and take things in and sort through things better. I struggle a little in the mid-afternoon waiting for my last dose of Adderall around 4pm, but this later dose (Used to take at 2pm) really helps me at home with the family and really helps with bedtime. 

I don't understand it

I don't understand it either....would think the lower level of stress in the house when he takes them would be motivation enough. 

Remembering to take meds

Hi Funnyfarm,

My first psychiatrist made a humorous observation when I was first diagnosed and expressed anxiety about being able to take medication regularly:

 "Well, you don't forget to brush your teeth and wipe your butt, do you?"  Uh, no.  "Well, things that you do everyday that are part of your routine become habit." 

So true.  But God forbid I deviate from the norm with any habit I have established and forget to put it in my phone... 

He doesn't want to take meds, does he?  If that is the case, he's not motivated to take the steps to change his habits.  It could come down to his pride, mixed in with forgetting it.  

I feel weird without my meds.  It's not like being drunk, yet it is.  I loosen my grip... Like I just don't care, say what I want to say, do what I want to do...and yet somehow despite my waning motivation, the disruption to my neurotransmitters, I know I don't want to be that way...  I've always been fascinated with the human mind (not shocking, given my job), but it was difficult for me to accept needing help.  My pride can be an issue.  Sometimes, it still is.  The thing about ADHD is this:  the very skills we need to be able to help ourselves out of the muck are missing (executive functioning) and in order to help ourselves, STEP ONE is getting on a consistent medication regimen, which I don't believe your husband has totally  accepted.  It isn't easy on one's pride to admit being different, needing help, and accepting it.  But it sure is necessary.

That was funny....about daily

That was funny....about daily habits.

I think you are right.  I don't think he "Wants" to take the meds or change his habits...even though when he does he has more impulse control, greater focus, etc all the usual benefits... he doesn't forget to do the things he really WANTS to do.  He doesn't think there is anything wrong with spending 8 hours in front of the computer, or in the garage or doing whatever he wants to do...while I am doing all the chores, taking care of the kids, etc.  he WANTS to do those things he likes...I mean who wants to do chores, so why change.  He only takes his meds regularly when I remind him or when things are completely falling apart.

I think you all have valid points and insight, thanks.


"I mean who wants to do chores, so why change?" Nobody Wants to, but we do... Maybe the routine was easier for me because we split up the HH tasks from the beginning. Since my DW and I both work FT Stressful jobs, I figured the stuff at home ought to be split up. I try to do "Fun Stuff" for myself in off hours time. My DW can still get annoyed with me working on one of my toy/hobby items even if it is "Off Hours" because she doesn't get them. They seem stupid to her, I guess. 

I will say that it was really hard, in the beginning, to realize that "I" had a brain disorder?!? And I had to take meds for the rest of my life because of it... Fortunately, I KNEW how much the meds helped me and I never really felt disabled compared to "Normal" people (What is Normal anyway ;), so my meds Boosted me mentally and I could make the rest of my life better for myself AND the ones who stuck it out with me. What more motivation could anyone ask for, Right???

Can you give my H a

Can you give my H a call ?????   You both seem to 'get it' and don't use ADD as an excuse, even if its hard you try....

he will openly admit to anyone he has ADD, but gets mad if I point out the things that he is doing that are clearly ADD behaviors. We both have full time demanding jobs too, have our whole marriage, wasn't a big deal until kids came into the picture then I had all the old stuff and all the new stuff to take care of, he never changed.  I don't have an issue with hobbies (as dumb as i think some are), but the amount of Time spent on them is its all that exists...i tried splitting chores, but then they don't get done,  even now I just had an accident and I and can't do some things until they aren't getting done...  I was in the hosp a few years ago for 5 days, came home to a pile of dirty dishes on the counter and a mountain of laundry on the floor....UGH!!!   Its so frustrating.  I hate to feel like giving up because of the 'chore war', but its like chinese water torture, one little drop of water on your head is no biggie but after years of it, it will drive you crazy.

Went off on a tanget there, but taking meds, wanting to change, helping out...all related


I know all too well about going off on a Tangent, Left Turn tear ;) I guess what helped me was my SOH disorder (Sense Of Humor). I joked for years about having ADD and never really though I had ADD. I guess there were a lot of things I did, just because I knew I had too even though I did not know why. 

What drove me was learning about the disorder and seeing all the ways it applied to me. Understanding how this Bi+ch of a disorder hampered my successes and knowledge Now is Indeed Power. I did mourn for some of the "What could have been, if I knew about this 20 years ago", but I quickly focused on how things Will be better for the second half of my life.

Tell your H that it is Really Nice outside of the ADD Fog...

i can tell you have a SOH

i can tell you have a SOH disorder, not a bad one to have.   You have a great attitude. 

I think he 'knows' all about the disorder, he was diagnosed 6 years ago along with our children, he sees how the meds change them, but doesn't admit or notice the change they have on him. I think he hates that he has to take drugs to be 'normal'..maybe still partially in denail ??


Denial, probably... Most guys I know are Real funny about anything concerning their health, especially preventative care. I've never been that way, so much, I'd rather know, deal with it and hopefully live. Maybe he thinks too much damage has been done, so change would be a waste of time. He may know himself too well and not want to face another failure. It is just Easier not to try, but this only leads to sitting by and watching the Train Wreck in slow motion. Most ADDer's won't change until they have too, it seems, because change means losing established structures (Good or Bad, but structure all the same) 

I'll tell you this... My DD's motivate me. I know that my knowledge of ADD behavior has helped me explain their feelings/behaviors. I can find one of my behaviors that mirrors what they are going though and I can help explain Why things get misinterpreted and I believe this is helping stop cratering self-esteem issues.  The issue is that you cannot motivate for him, unfortunately... "I" found out I was ADD, this may be a big difference than for others who have people "Tell" them they may have ADD and get diagnosed. Maybe this is the reason I am not so defensive about it? Lucky, I guess...

SOH Disorder

My Husband totally has that, too! I think he is honestly one of the funniest, wittiest, charismatic people I've ever met. (I make sure to tell him that regularly.) I don't think he would be so funny without the ADD so I, for one, am grateful that he has it.

SOH Functions

I've always said "If you lose your sense of humor, you are in REAL Trouble"... I think my SOH is actually better, after Adderall, because I actually can grab the thought easier and am getting better reading the room and knowing "When" to unleash the SOH. Laughter makes Everyone feel better, Medically proven, I believe :) 

another good point.  My H

another good point.  My H has no sense of humor, or none that i ever see, just moody and irritable....another reason to take the meds. IF he was funny and made me laugh on occasion all the crap wouldn't be so difficult.

SOH downside...

Sometimes my SOH is a "Bit" on the Dark or Sarcastic Side and my DW is not too amused, but Most of the time dry sarcastic, catch you by surprise SOH makes her laugh :) My DD's developed sarcastic SOH's too... Ooooops ;) 

Here is the thing that

Here is the thing that I think a lot of us non-ADD spouses struggle with since i see it asked over and over.....What behavior is caused by ADHD and not managing the ADHD, and what is purely someones character or bad behavior. Anyone can be selfish, irritable, or have bad habits, doesn't make them ADD, so how do you know when its the ADD or someone just doesn't give a crap to improve ?  ADD is so hard to understand/accept since it seems to account for a lot of behaviors that aren't acceptable in a marriage but not every ADD person is the same.   I know when my H takes his meds he is more focused, he is less irritable, has more energy, is less forgetful, yet it doesn't change everything I'd like to see different, so is the rest is willpower or not wanting to change..helping with chores, or the kids, or not drinking, going to bed before 2am.

SO is the 'forgetting' to take meds and being self absorbed ADD or not wanting to change. I know you can't answer that, something He (We) need to figure out.

Thanks guys.

We decided that it didn't

We decided that it didn't matter WHERE the behavior came from (since my H has a very complicated combo of PTSD from childhood, ADD, anxiety, depression, addiction, family of origin issues, etc). We decided instead to concentrate on what behavior wasn't working specifically -  I would state how I FELT his behavior was impacting me/son, and he would then work it out with his psychiatrist, therapist and himself on a measurable and specific change. I would then follow up with a re-affirming "Honey, thank you for........" fill in the blank.

I am VERY lucky that he is so willing to work on himself to save our marriage. For me, I wasn't willing to stay if he didn't acknowledge the problem and take active steps to work on it - and I made him VERY will aware of that. The whole process is SO painful, and I'm so sorry you're going through it. One day at a time (sometimes one hour at a time) is my motto.

My DH takes 100mgs of

My DH takes 100mgs of Trazodone and 25 mgs of Vistaril at bedtime and 10mgs of Adderall twice a day. He tried concerta, vyvanse, straterra, symbalta, wellbutrin, effexor and each and every one either made him feel horrible physically or mentally...or both. he was severely depressed but with the current combo he is doing exceptionally well. He also is prescribed 2 'as needed' Vistaril (non narcotic anti-anxiety med) per day but rarely takes them. He sleeps well at night...for the first time, well..ever. I think that makes a huge difference. 


Sleeping like I've never slept before was one of the first thing I noticed after beginning my Adderall treatment. I still have a script of Klonopin 5mg for anxiety or if I am having trouble relaxing before bed, but I only use one maybe 2 or 3 times a week. It is amazing what some quality sleep can do for you :)

My Experience

Both professional and personal is Straterra works great in mild add, but nothing above, certainly.

Oh, my husband when he took meds as prescribed (he decided to take only the first dose of the day and no more) he quit beating the living *bleep* outta me in my sleep.

The man I married does not exist is my honest conclusion.

I think even telling him he slept better (ie not kicking my A in my sleep) with meds appears to be an insult to him.

I've always wondered why this happens.

When I read about ODD it was like I had the answer in front of me.

Why, oh why, dear god did my husband have this apparent add on... no idea...

Super sucks though

Getting back to basics

My Husband's first psychiatrist prescribed Adderall, and long story short, he was on it for a month, then went off it. He switched psychiatrists and this new one put him on long acting Xanax for anxiety which he takes twice a day, and temazepam for sleep at night. This has been a magic combo for him in that his anxiety and defensiveness is SO much lower, to the point where he is able to function, have a conversation, and his defenses are almost completely down. The regular sleep has also done wonders. Sometimes just starting with the basics like controlling anxiety that is at a 10 all day, every day, and getting good regular sleep will reveal pathways to other things that can then be managed like depression, ADHD, etc. Just our story.

Less IS More...

I never realized how much anxiety I had before my diagnosis. I really did not know too much about anxiety or ADD until my diagnosis and now I see how these things affected me at every turn. Before diagnosis, I was also 100 pounds overweight and had sleep apnea on top of the issues ADD/Anxiety add to poor sleep. You are absolutely right about the affects of good sleep. It sounds like your DH has a handle on improving his ADD/Anxiety issues. It is good to hear a few positives out here ;)