Does anyone else know that you/your ADHD spouse has ADHD? Extended family? Friends?

Do others know about your or your spouse's ADHD?  Is this something you willingly told them?  Does the ADHDer like people to know or keep it a secret?  What kinds of reactions have you received from people finding out?


My husband has known he's had ADD for almost a year now, but still hasn't 100% accepted it.  He's done zero research on it and only knows what I've told him (I've educated myself a good bit including reading Dr Hallowell's book).  But he doesn't want anyone at all to know about his ADD.  Which I understand to an extent, it's not something to brag about.  I don't go bragging about my depression.  But several people, mostly extended family, would be able to understand his behavior so much more if they knew.  And wouldn't hold some of it personally.  But it's up to him who we tell.  The only person that knows besides me and him is my mother and that's only because she lives with us.  Maybe no one will ever know, who knows. 

I'm curious how this is for others.

I doubt I can be of any help...

My husband was diagnosed when he was quite young.  By the time I knew him, everyone in his life already knew he had ADHD.  None of his family seems to understand his ADHD at all - they might think that it has something to do with his attitude towards them, but only on rare occasion.  My family, however, understands his behavior much better because they know about it.  They are more patient with him when he avoids them at family get-togethers (because he's hyperfocusing on other things) and don't worry about his forgetfulness and avoidance of responsibility.  Our friends don't understand some of the time, but they ask what's going on - and if I say it's related to his ADHD, they are accepting of it.  I'm not sure if his boss knows or not, but I'm guessing he does - as well as most of his co-workers.  It's never a big deal to anyone (but me and the kids, of course).  I think the most annoying thing my husband has encountered with people knowing he's ADHD is the amount of people who say things like, "oh yeah, I didn't like school either, I must have ADHD" or "I should tell my wife I have ADHD so I don't have to help around the house" or "I thought I always forgot things 'cause I was stoned all the time, I guess I just have ADHD."  He doesn't like it when people decide to diagnose themselves just to have excuses to be lazy.  Other than that, he's never encountered problems with it.  Perhaps your husband doesn't want to share this information because he knows so little about it and how it affects his life and behavior?  Maybe he thinks of ADHD as a mental illness and feels like people will treat him as if he is "crazy."  Try talking to him to ask him why he's so concerned about people knowing.  It really would be a great help to you and his family if they knew.

Our immediate family and a

Our immediate family and a few good friends know.  My husband was diagnosed a few years ago but we never took it seriously.  Pop a pill and all will get better right?

After more marriage struggles and a short separation we are both taking it more seriously now.  Since my son has also been diagnosed w/ADHD I sent an e-mail out to my immediate family with some information about ADHD.  I told them all that ADHD was part of our family (like it or not) and that if they cared about their son, grandson, brother, etc. they would educate themselves so they can better understand why sometimes my DH and son do some of the things they do.

To my surprise it went over very well with my family and both sides (his and mine) have taken the time to educate themselves more about ADHD.  Now they cut him some slack when they would normally think he's being lazy or childish and they cut my son some slack when they know his meds haven't kicked in and he's bouncing around the living room.  They've also cut me some slack when I'm frustrated and at their house taking a "time out" from a situation.

I've told a few friends of mine.  I needed someone I could talk to that understood what I was going though and who could support me.

I wish more knew

and understood ADD. On my side, once I explained the diagnosis to my mom, she was understanding and a bit curious. We think my dad was ADD but was never diagnosed. It would explain my sisters behavior too but she says that's just the way she is and everyone knows it. Denial I guess, like his side of the family. Though there was hushed mention of a diagnosis, a hospital stay. It's not something to brag about but, if it's hereditary, it's good to know what you're dealing with and get to working on it as early as possible. It would of been helpful to get together and share research, good doctors, meds and side effects and other solutions to help support one another. Instead there was a lot of confusion, denial, blaming, anger...

I will mention it sometimes and ask if they're familiar with it. If they're not, I sometimes say that people like to make jokes about it but, it's really not funny. If you're not familiar with it you can't really see it. Our social life is very limited now anyway, too many awkward moments I was tired of dealing with.