How Adderall affects relationships

I am in a long term relationship with someone with ADD. He takes Adderall on a somewhat varied but predictable schedule. Most weekdays when he attends school or work he takes it in the morning, but on the weekends he prefers not to. This habit of his really caused problems in the beginning. I couldn't seem to figure out who he really was. When he took the medicine he was calm, relaxed, focused, and polite. He didn't always pay attention to me, and his mind always seemed to be focused on something else. On the other hand, on the weekends he became very rowdy and obnoxious. He could be rude and quite often his behavior embarrassed me, yet he payed more attention to me and was much more fun-loving. I felt as if his dual personalities were accentuated by the fact that he didn't take his medicine regularly. Perhaps on the weekend his ADD behavior was more emphasized because he was going through some sort of withdrawal. It took me a very long time to start to understand this behavior, and how I was supposed to react to it. I have now had to get used to not knowing exactly what personality I am going to be spending time with, but I have to admit, I have grown somewhat fond of the situation. I have found different characteristics in each behavior that I really love, and that I know are truly him. His fun, outgoing, spontaneous side can only be uncovered when he doesn't take the Adderall. Yet his thoughtful, caring, intellectual side only comes out when he has the Adderall to help him sort through his thoughts. I guess I wrote all of this because I am curious to see what others are going through with this problem. It can be very wearing dealing with dual personalities, and I don't know if I would prefer him to make up his mind on whether or not to take the medication. Are there reasonable and effective ways of handling ADD without the use of Adderall. I am still just very confused by the whole thing when I really start to think about it.

blueroses4me's picture

this is my husband the the TEE!

I felt like I was reading my own handwriting as I read your post!  And he takes Adderall as well.  I find that I can't stand the days he isn't on his meds because his behavior is so rude and annoying.  It took me awhile to get used to him on his meds--polite, considerate--but I like him so much better. 

I know what you mean about the two personalities.  It's so true.

Adderall me...

I was diagnosed over a year and a half ago. Finding out about ADD when you are in your mid-40's is quite a shock. I began reading about ADD and could not believe all the things that were me. I am quite different on Adderall and I do not skip my meds, because I know what it is like to feel "Better"... I don't obsess about food anymore and I love to walk. The opposite of ADD me. Eating less and walking 15-25 miles a week have reduced my footprint by 90 pounds. Adderall gets me moving and motivated to get things done at work and home. I am not the laid back, don't worry about it person anymore, though... I have gone from time oblivious to hyper-time aware. I know there are an impossible amount of things to be done and get overwhelmed by this knowledge. The old me only worried about what was blowing up in face at the time and didn't worry about anything else. All in all I feel so much better an know it will take a while to get used to my new awareness of previously un-noticed things. I sleep better, feel better and act better. I won't go off my Adderall because I don't want to go back to the dark, depressed, angry and person of low self esteem that used to be be. I may have appeared confident, humorous and low key, but that was what I wanted the world to see. My wife is still adjusting to Adderall me and she is pretty mixed about it's effects. Hopefully this makes a little sense...

re: Adderall me...

I am eavesdropping on your conversation...why does your wife feel mixed about the effects of the Adderall?  My husband has stated he will "consider" trying meds, but your statement kind of scared me.  Please explain.

Mixed feelings

Well... She knows I think I feel better, but unlike most of the NonADDers on this site, she has not really wanted to learn more about this condition. It is getting close to two years post diagnosis and my wife doesn't really notice any of the changes for the good, like better communication, time management, better temper, more energy, improved memory and so on... What IS focused on is my weight loss and lack of appetite. I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full, crazy I know, I used to have no control of my appetite and food was the highlight of the day. Food was something I could always count on for a little happiness. So my wife and I always had this in common. Bad day, let's get something really awesome for dinner. The Adderall affected my appetite at first and probably still has a little effect, but when I get home from work and we get around to dinner, it has been a good 6 - 7 hours since my last Adderall, so it can't be affecting me that much at night. I love to walk and generally walk 2 miles at 5am and 2 miles after work. I feel so much better after walking. The big argument is that in her eyes the "Speed" is responsible for the weight loss, and I won't agree with her, which makes her mad. The referance "Speed" is used as a jab at me, and I won't take the bait. I understand we both have struggled most of our lives with weight control, always hoping for the Magic Pill. I have always supported any effort on her part no matter the cost. I wish she would read about ADD and maybe things would make more sense. I know she has plenty of anger to work through, and I am not Cured, but better and I am continuing to learn about what has controlled my behavior for so long. I love my wife and I wish she could believe that she is beautiful to me. I want her to feel good about herself and encourage her to walk with me, nor because I think she needs to, but to spend a little time together. We both work stressful jobs and have two kids, so the evenings are dominated by the kids school work and activities. By the time we get them to bed, there is not much time for us. I don't know how much my ramblings will help you, but the lightbulb came on with my first dose of Adderall. I will never go back to the darkness. I just wish the fixation on my eating habits would end. I'm 5'-11" and 185 pounds, hardly too thin. Compared to me at 282, I am off my anti depressants, off my CPAP for sleep apnea, fired by my heart doctor and have no more acid reflux. I feel better on 6 hours sleep than I used to on 10 hours sleep. If your husband is willing to try the meds, that's great! Many of us guys are not so cooperative. ADD is different for everyone and the affects to the meds take some trial and error until you find the right drug and dosage. Good luck, and I hope something I said makes a little sense.

Jekyl and Hyde, that's me

I am on adderall, as well.  I am completely different people on and off the meds.  Personally, I hate being off of them as much as I hate being dependent on them.  My wife and I have a deal, that seems to help a little.  If I am not going to take them, I need to let her know so she knows what to expect.  Don't get me wrong, she can figure it out, it's just easier to manage things if she knows who's going to show up.


revelation-  I can second pretty much everything he said.  I am guessing that his wife knew him and was comfortable with the way things were.  Now that his brain is turned on, he is finally fulfilling his potential and he dropped 90 lbs.  That doesn't always sit well with people.  It rocks the status quo.  Sad, but true.  (Please note: I don't know his situation, and don't want to speak for him.  I am just giving my perception)

ADHD user

So my fiancé doesn't like that I use Adderal. I can't say that I blame her. Because when she met me I was charismatic, outgoing, a bit hyper/obnoxious. I didn't like that in me cause growing up I was called annoying. I was always told to be still. The world has a way of categorizing how you should act. Now taking this medicine I feel lifeless. It's makes me depressed because of the emotionless side I have. Yeah I can focus better. But do the pros really outweigh the cons? Her biggest gripe is that she doesn't know "me" anymore. Like I went from Richard Simmons to Ben stein overnight. I'm straight business, minimal interest in things that "don't matter" but they used to matter to me, that's how you grow a relationship is by listening to all the filler. I am calling my DR to see if there are non-medical ways to treat me. It's easy to stay numb or enjoy this new feeling. But I say it isn't worth it!

Mr E

How long were you on Adderall without going off of it?  Or did you go on and off intermitently.  You sound like me growing up so I'm curious? (annoying yes)   Ben Stein. Ha!  (Bueler.............Ferris Bueler...................:)

I have been diagnosed with

I have been diagnosed with this since I was in 2nd grade. I'm 30 now. It was riddlin, Prozac and others etc.

i started taking adderall when I was in my 20's then I stopped. It became expensive. for the past year I started again, cause I've been blessed with good insurance. Both times it was consistent . 10mg XR 1x daily. But if I didn't eat, which I am never hungry, it felt like drinking a pot of coffees I get paranoid that I'm acting weird. So if I eat breakfast m,  lunch and dinner the intense effects are more curbed. It's still presets though. So I am calling my behavioral specialist to see what alternatives I can take. All I want at the end of the day is to focus and pay attention to detail. I don't want to be on a pill. Some people like it , for the hi or obvious reasons. I just want this to be resolved. 

Thanks For Sharing This E

It sounds like you've given it a good shot and the side effects are really not worth it for you.  That's a pretty low dose compared to what I'm on so this is telling.  10mg once a day would hardly do anything for me and would barely scratch the surface for what I need.  10mg would be like doing nothing at all really which is what I started on.  It does sound like you have a sensitivity to it especially the paranoid parts. 

Delphine suggested exercise and I can make some added recommendations there for you if the things she suggested don't seem to work well for you.  Aerobic exercise of a minimum of 20 minutes continuous with a target heart rate of 120bpm - 150bpm would actual replace taking Adderall for me without the long lasting effects the drugs give me doing it once a day.  Twice a day would replace Adderall completely as I found when I was younger and had the time to put that much into it.  The exercise will have a number of other positive side effects that will go beyond staying focused as well.

The recent article I just posted on here yesterday suggests that new research is now showing that exercise in combination with the right diet, and eliminating or keeping your alcohol consumption (if any?) to a minimum  will actually regenerate and promote new brain cell production in the hippocampus of the brain which is responsible learning, memory, mood and emotions.

If you watch this video, Sandrine Thuret, a neural stem cell researcher... explains the function of exercise and diet in combination with reducing or eliminating other factors in that inhibit or prevent this process in the brain.  Her recomendations to do this show nearly the exact same recommendations suggested by the exerts for those who have ADHD to the letter and the reasons why.  To me this is telling.  I'm kind of a bottom line guy who always wants to know "why" and without going into this any further and just jumping to the obvious appears the suggestions made for those who have ADHD line up exactly with this new research which suggests to me....if the side effect of following these suggestions works to help promote new brain cell growth and manage your ADHD symptoms at the same time....actually knowing exactly why the two strategies appear to be identical is kind of a moot point if you ask me since the results that you want are the same regardless of which criteria  you pick.  

As it appears.. the goals overlap and the side effects are all positive  and you can't go wrong either way you want to look at it.   A NO brainer you might say. LOL (that was humor...just so you know) I can still just as annoying even with

And making a point here you need to consider.  You may just want this all to be resolved and are looking for a singular simple way for this to happen.  But the reality is....what you are actually looking for in the way you are approaching appears to be expecting a miracle or searching for one that doesn't exist.  All these things can either help or hurt depending on....but at the end of the will always have ADHD.  There is no cure all that will make it completely go away. 

Accepting yourself for who you are and actually learning to live with yourself ( and Love yourself just the way you ..... is probably more important to what you are searching for than anything else my friend. 

What your fiance' or anyone else thinks about you....should not determine how you think about yourself in a positive way no matter what they think of you. This is not arrogance or falsely or incorrectly over estimating your abilities as I'm saying this ( believing in your abilities to do things and accomplish tasks)....this about believing in yourself and not having to prove it to anyone else and that comes from within.   No pill or treatment strategy can ever replace a positive state of mind and having that as the goal for yourself.  If you are trying to put a band aid on it from the outside working in....that's about as effective for a positive state of mind as doing nothing at all IMHO. 

Having said that....the treatment is important and setting this as your goal is really important as well.  You need to do both but differentiate the difference in your expectations and understand the difference if I can make that a suggestion for you.  Having walked this path myself....I can at least give you that advise and something to look at for yourself. 

There is a lot of good information out there on all this stuff and not taking my (or anyone else's word for it) and researching it and educating yourself is part of the recomended  treatment anyway.   Good for you on all accounts...for being willing to do this for yourself and for others at the same time.  There are many on this forum who would only wish their spouses would volunteer to do this on their own who simply refuse to even discuss it or do anything about it at all.  You're way ahead of the curve already.  Good luck with this and I hope you find the right combination of things that will work for you:)


This was so helpful! I am

This was so helpful! I am very blessed to have such a great woman in my life. I am aware that I ultimately make my own decisions. It has taken A very long time for me to love myself. I guess we all struggle with trying to be perfect and wanting the things we don't have. Like focus and attention to detail. I have found that this info you sent me is very useful and I am grateful to you for providing it to me. My biggest fear is addiction to any pill. So if I can find a better alternative before the dr keeps upping my dose, I want to nip it in the bud. It makes a lot of sense(your info) that's why I like working with my hands it keeps me busy. Office work is nice and comfy and I wish I could have it(with reasonable pay) but I get antsy. So I get my exercise daily from work. I have a terrible diet. I'm not overweight at all. But I still eat poorly. I do like alcohol. But this all makes sense. I need to change my diet and minimilize alcohol consumption. 

Meditation not medication!

Meditation not medication! This includes mindful walking.

More natural remedies:

Also, exercise like jumping on a trampoline (also known as a rebounder)  and a high protein, low carb diet.  My son has ADHD and jumping on the rebounder helps him a lot.

From an article on managing ADHD in children (it kind of bugs me that so much of this kind of info is about children--as if plenty of adults don't have it too! My son is grown btw):

Rudman suggests that children jump on a trampoline, for compressing the joints of the body while jumping on a trampoline produces an organizational effect that lasts for four to six hours, similar to an adult going to the gym before starting his or her day.'s picture

Change dose

Perhaps a lower dose is in order