His treatment

Let me start by saying I have undiagnosed ADHD, married to a man who was diagnosed as a child. He was also medicated as a child, but stopped taking medication as soon as he turned 18. He's now in his late 20s and we have been together for 6 years. Recently he is taking another look at getting on some medication. He tried 40mg of Strattera daily, and the side effects were horrible. Not only did he not sleep for 4 days (until he quit the meds, thank god) but he immediately because more sensitive, less joyful... just kind of "down." The "down" effect took weeks to wear off. Could have also been the disappointment that the meds didn't work out as he'd hoped. Anyway, he wants to try again but this time with sleeping pills to counteract the sleeplessness. Oh and let me also mention I will probably NEVER get on meds, as I have been able to (mostly) set up my life to where everything is functioning at a reasonable level. Most of the time anyway.

Anyway, I'm torn. I have conflicting thoughts/feelings on the matter:

-I want to be supportive of his choices. We live in a kind of "natural" community; and many other people are vocal about their opinion that he should NOT medicate under any circumstances. I'd like to be a voice of support and understanding for him, as I can see he very much needs this. Also I don't think anyone has the right to hold opinions on someone ELSE's course of treatment, or their decisions about their own body. That includes me; I wouldn't want him weighing in on my personal medical decisions, and I don't think it's fair for me to try to sway his. I understand his desire to "fix the problem" of his ADHD, especially with regard to his job (which is less flexible and forgiving than mine) and around the house (where I am constantly asking for more help).

-Still, I'd be lying if I said I was completely on board. I'm afraid. There are a lot of things I fear in this situation. I am afraid the side effects will make him unbearable; like last time with the no sleeping thing. Also, I fell in love with him, raging ADHD and all; will he change? I think his moments of hyperfocus are endearing and his quirks are charming; I don't want to give them up in exchange for better organization, or memory, or whatever. I don't want him drugged 24/7 and losing the parts of ADHD that are positives just so he can be more like everyone else. I know with the right meds the change is not supposed to be that noticeable but that doesn't remove the fear I am feeling. On the other hand, I feel strongly that I love him and not his ADHD, but it's part of him, I can't seem to separate the two.

-Then there's the feeling that having similar issues is like a bond between us. I like that we can laugh together about our shared craziness. I love that we understand eachother because we struggle with the same things. If he goes off and gets better it's like he's leaving me all alone in a struggle I thought we shared.

I've tried telling him the conflicting things I'm feeling but he's quite sensitive about it. He already thinks I'm "against it" even though I've told him it's his decision and I support him. I've tried telling him how much I value and love him AS IS, and that I'm not trying to control him or make decisions for him. If I mention side effects like moodiness, he says he's afraid I'm going to attribute every negative thing to the meds, when sometimes he might be having just a bad day. I want to have open and honest discussions about something that is ultimately his choice, but affects us both... but he gets really defensive right away and doesn't seem to want to talk about it. Then I feel like he thinks I'm not supportive and he feels alone.

Most of all I don't want to lose him; I don't want to trade him in for a more organized, less distracted, and (to me) less interesting version of himself. I'm scared. What should I do?

i am 30 years old. i ve had

i am 30 years old. i ve had adhd my whole life but wasnt diagnosed until about 4 months ago. i was prescribed strattera also but not able to afford it. so my doctor prescribed me with adderall. 10 mg 2x a day. the side effects are minimal and the benifits have been great!! 

Spouse and Meds

You fear that you would lose the wonderful man you are with, but you have no evidence that this is actually the case.  The Strattera was obviously not effective for him, but there are others that might help him overcome whatever issues he is dealing with.  His feeling that he needs to try meds at this point in spite of the fact that he lives in a community that openly does not support his choice is an indicator to me that he may be feeling more out of control than he is letting on.  It is his choice and you obviously respect that, and I see little reason to "hide" your fears, but I would just couch them as that - your fears, not a judgement about him.  Your fears are a reflection of your happiness with him and your life together, and that is a form of compliment to him (and one many of the ADD folks on this site would love to have, I'm sure!) but it does add to his pressure.

There are also non-medicinal treatments for ADD that might help or can be used along with medications to increase treatment gains (like regular exercise).

Anyway, the goal of any medicinal treatment for ADD is to find a treatment that works without side effects.  You both together can help observe and discuss any side effects he might feel as he tries other options -ritalin, Adderall, Focalin or whatever.  Dosages can be adjusted, and behavioral therapy added to help him address issues he may be having at work (around organization, etc).  Some medications (such as ritalin) can be taken effectively some days (week days, for example) and not taken others (weekends) if that works, too.

After he has tried medications you will both be able to have a more informed discussion about what the various trade offs are surrounding the decision.  You might find that he can use medication, get rid of some of the issues that most bother him, and not have an impact on your relationship.  Or you might find that there are negative side effects that aren't worth the gains.  Either way, he'll know that he tried what he thought he needed and you'll know that you didn't put yourself in a position in which he resents your "intrusion" into his personal decisions.  Or put another way, there is unlikely to be a long-term negative side effect to his trying treatment under a doctor's supervision, but there might be long term side effects if he feels alone and isolated by the community and you around his health issues.  My suggestion - give him your wholehearted support to try addressing his needs as he sees fit.

Best of luck with it.

The results are in

He's been on the Stattera for a few months, with help from sleeping pills to ease the sleeplessness side effect. So far things seem to be going well. I mean, he seems happier and more relaxed. There's less anxiety coming from him. Melissa, I think you were right that he was feeling way more overwhelmed than he let on. The best things is, I guess because he's sleeping better, he has more energy than he used to, and he is exercising more! (Something I knew from MY experience that it would help his whole life and well-being, but he had to choose to do it himself.) Anyway, the meds don't seem too bad, the only thing is when he forgets to take the pill in the a.m. then he has a short fuse all day. He'll get frustrated easily. But, overall, he still seems to be "him". So far, my fears are not coming true... but I am just so grateful for this forum; having a place to articulate what I'm feeling was so helpful and such a relief! Thank you so much!