Does it ever get any better?

After years and years of all kinds of therapy and med cocktails, he's getting worse.  Does it ever get any better?  Or, am I just stuck with whatever the day holds?  DH has ADD with high anxiety.  Has been on meds and in therapy for too long.  Nothing is changing and in fact, is getting worse.  Not sure what to do or which direction to go next.  Any advice is appreciated. 

can it get better?

My first suggestion is to move this to the Anger and Frustration thread.  More people will probably read your post there.

Next, can it get better?  I think so.  But much of this depends on the person with ADHD.  I've read many posts here by folks with ADHD or their partners about people who have managed to make many positive changes.  

But others don't improve.  I don't know why.  My husband is in his late 50s.  He was diagnosed with ADHD approximately four or five years ago.  He is happy to take ADHD meds (along with his meds for depression and anxiety) but not so interested in making behavioral changes.  He now gets to appointments on time because he uses his phone for alarms.  But he hasn't improved in communication and organization and his denial and avoidance behaviors are increasing.  I don't know if he's developing early Alzheimer's or what.  It's very frustrating.


I have ADHD, am on meds and have. (I believe) made behavior changes. I use to be avoid issues, but now prefer to discuss them. My soon to be ex is reluctant, but I think it's defense mechanisms. Although I understand, I can't take them blame for everything. I have made bad depictions, have exhibited bad behaviors, but my ADHD was untreated. I am not making an excuse, I am simply explaining. I see a psychologist, and a psychiatrist every month. Talk therapy, medication, and a new/ positive outlook on life has bettered me as a person I believe. My family and friends agree, everyone but my ex, and I am ok with that. Can things get better, yes, but only if HE wants them to. I mean that. Recommend him coming on the forum and reading some posts about non-ADHD spouses, etc. honestly, that is what made me "turn over a new leaf". I realized that although I wasn't TRYING to hurt people's feelings, I was. I wanted to become a better person, for myself, and my friends and family. So can it get better, I think so. ADHD is a imbalance in the brain dealing with neurotransMitters. I don't know if your spouse knows this or not, but it may help that he knows WHAT he has. It helped me a lot. I still struggle daily when my meds wear off, but I feel so much better. The best of luck to you, and keep us updated. 


Hey there, mmarq,

I am sorry for what you are going through. I don't know if this will help: Anything that you can do to work on yourself, to remove yourself from that horrible position of wondering what the day will hold and how you will adapt to him or be affected by it or avoid good. See a therapist, start exercising or making a quilt, go out with friends or visit someone out of town...I don't say these things lightly. Deciding to take care of yourself and not be responsible for your partner and his condition can be a huge turning point. And I know that living with someone who isn't improving can be a sinkhole that can take you down with it. 

There are many I have seen on these boards whose spouses with ADHD work with them and improve their marriages and relationships. Mine unfortunately also just got worse. My STBX took a lot of medication, but I don't think it was the right kind and he wasn't really monitored. And he refused any and all counseling and psychiatric treatment. We went on this way for years, with him getting worse (I think there was something going on there along with the ADHD). One day I realized that it was too late, that I was literally going down with him, that he was mistreating me, and that it didn't matter if 6 months from then he finally figured it out and did what he needed to do to get better. I couldn't take any more and left. I am so glad I did because he is ever worse now. I think there are some people who unfortunately just won't get better. 

You used the term "too long." Only you can know how long is too long. Does yours need a different doctor? Is he asking for help or working with you? What barriers do you think are keeping him from improving? Do you care any more? Would you feel only relief if you left? 

Best to you in any case. 


How did you separate when you had been for so many years emotionally, financially, historically, familiarily, entwined? Where do you go?  When a hoarding  ADDer cannot organize himself to clean up his spaces or figure out finances or make a decision, or get a job, or apply for social secuirty, or look for opportunities much less pack and move?  When you know an ADDer will not be able to get a house ready to sell, keep up the house in your absense, pay the utilities?  It seems to be the thing to do in my case but I can't seem to envision the "how". I feel stuck. I don't have a supportive family member to go to.


Hi jennalemon,

It was and is pretty tough. It sucked, actually, and there are still days when I feel like a truck ran over me. I am broke and I still have to deal with the anxiety of him financially screwing up things that we both still hold together (like our house). Our situation is nuts... The house was  partway through a rehab that he insisted on and started that I knew would be a disaster, and unfortunately it was. There is no kitchen still and walls are ripped out and all the money is gone so it can't be finished. It is completely unsellable. This alone kept me there hostage for over a year. But my STBX not only had untreated ADHD and depression, but was also abusive and possibly bipolar and may even have NPD. When I made the decision to leave, it was a relief, even though I knew I had a tough road ahead.

I am trying to deal with him being unable to function and make decisions while I find some way to clean up the mess so we can sell it. When he gets really upset with me he threatens to stop paying his part of our shared bills and throw us both into bankruptcy (never mind what would happen to our kids if he did!) What kind of father would threaten to do that? I knew I couldn't trade some financial security for being with a man like this one more minute.

The alternative? I was almost dead from stress and depression. I knew he was getting worse. And we have children who were watching him, learning to be men from his behavior, and I realized that if the reason I was staying was because I was afraid to leave, then that was not enough reason to keep my children and myself in this situation. I just went to an attorney, got some advice, started the separation papers, found an apartment, took the kids, and left. I have not regretted it once, not even for a second. I should have done it years ago. I still have to deal with him, but I can walk away and I don't live with him any more. I get to have a life.  And I have realized that, tough as it is, I have to have something legal, in writing, so that I am not responsible for him beyond a certain point. A good attorney should be able to advise you about how to get him to do what need sto be done for you to have some security. I think our situations may be a bit different--I thought I read once that you have grown children? I am in my forties and my kids are still in elementary school.

I am lucky to have emotionally supportive friends and family, although none live nearby. Even one friend in your corner can be a lot, and when I confided in one what was going on, it also reinforced that I was not crazy, and that his behavior was so far beyond what was ok that I was doing the right thing. A few friends showed up with cars, we took what was important, and I was out in a few hours. One of the friends was someone I work with, whom I didn't know that well, but she asked me twice if I was ok and if she could help, and I took her up on it. The peace of this little apartment with my kids is unbelievable. I was scared, but as someone told me, it is not courage if you are not scared. I think we are stronger than we know. Jenna, I have read your posts on here for a while now, and think you deserve some happiness, whatever form it takes. Find an ally! Best to you. Let me know how it goes. 

how to separate

Hi, Jennalemon.  One thing that sometimes helps me cope with doing things that my spouse can't or won't do is to pretend that he is unable or unavailable for some other reason, a reason that doesn't make me mad.  Here are some other reasons one might have to step in:  spouse dies; spouse is hospitalized; spouse disappears.  So, for example, I'm extremely annoyed that my ADHD spouse wouldn't even tell me how to find our tax software, much less provide me with information I needed in a timely manner.  So, I got through it with the help of this thought:  if he just weren't here, for whatever reason, I would have to do it.  

Can you think about how you would sell the house if your spouse were suddenly to die?  Get that plan in place, and then start doing it.

Good idea, but not always practical

I'm in somewhat the same position as Jennalemon. I moved out of the rented house I shared with my husband. He's been left to his own devices for 6 months. There's dog poop on the floor, the bathroom hasn't been cleaned since I left. If he died (or moved out) I'd go back and clean it. But how can I while he's living there? How in the world do I avoid being sued for the abysmal condition of the house when the landlord finally kicks his non-rent-paying ass out?

Sueann, can you contact the

Sueann, can you contact the city about the house?  Explain you're not living there anymore, why you're not, that you've made attempts to get your husband to clean it up.  Perhaps the city would step in; if it didn't, at least there would be a record of you not having cooperated in the neglect of the property.

I know that you and Jennalemon and others are facing what seems to be the insurmountable task of getting out from under the messes being made by your husbands.  I hope that I'm not conveying lack of sympathy for you.  To tell the truth, it sickens me to think that so many of us are dealing with situations like this.

Legal separation

You might talk to an attorney (some would answer this for you for free on the phone in an initial consultation). I think in a legal separation, conditions regarding responsibilities, money, rent, kids, etc. for each person are written up and each person is expected to abide by them or it counts against them in a divorce. Maybe you could legally get out of the responsibility for the rent/dirty house if you were legally separated and it was documented that you were no longer living there?

My daughter IS a divorce lawyer

No problem getting a free consult there. :) She didn't think, as we have no property, it was really worth doing a separation agreement. Once we've been separated for a year, I can just pay a filing fee and get divorced without an attorney.

The problem is, I don't want him out on the street, which is what would happen if I turned him in to the city or the landlord. I am worried about the dog and cat, but I can't bring them here. (Our dog is lovely and housebroken and it wasn't him that left the dog poop on the floor.) His mother kind of encouraged this helpless behavior on his part, but she lives in a mother-in-law apartment in his brother's house, and I know his brother and HIS wife are not going to allow him to live there. So he'd be homeless and that's not really what I want for him or our pets.

I just wonder if anyone can think of any way to encourage him to follow basic standards of cleanliness. That is, after all, the last-straw reason why I left him.

hard to see

Sueann, I hear you. As much as I am happy to be on my own, I worry about my STBX and can't see that there will ever be a time that I will be completely separate from him. To complicate matters, our children do see him and go stay with him at our house. I just scrubbed the bathrooms and cleaned the kitchen the last time I was there because they were filthy, and I couldn't stand to think of my children being there. I also worry that if the place falls into disrepair too badly, we will never be able to to eventually sell it. I also help him pay bills on occasion. He usually doesn't know where they are. And I drive him to the doctor when he can't drive (he has an illness that makes it tough for him to do so on certain days).

The one thing I know won't happen is that I won't be able to get him to be cleaner, or more organized. I don't know if there is any way you can encourage yours to do so..l think he has to want to change and it doesn't sound like he is in that place, yet. He may need significant professional help to do so. 

If I had the money, I'd pay a cleaning service for mine, but I don't. He doesn't seem to care that he is living in dirty conditions with laundry everywhere and dishes piled in the sink. He is somehow able to block it all out, which is tough for me.