How to Get ADHD Husband into Treatment?

Hi everyone.  I'm new to this forum, and this is my first post.  My husband has never been diagnosed by a doctor, but we both know that he has pretty severe ADHD.  I am finding it hard to cope right now because when I try to talk to him about therapy or medication, he has a violent negative reaction.  He absolutely refuses to pursue either option.  He says he's tried everything, that therapy's a scam, that he's seen friends take meds that messed them up, that his personality could be permanently altered by meds, that an ADHD diagnosis could make him unable to get a security clearance if he decided to take a gov't job, etc., etc...  I know he loves me, but I don't know what to do.  He's literally the smartest person I've ever met, but his disorganization/procrastination/forgetfulness has already cost him several jobs, and this latest spate of unemployment has lasted six months already.  He only recently sent out a resume and seems to be pinning all his hopes on that one job.  We are both 30 with no children, but I know the worry of having to take care of us financially is taking its toll on my health.  I also feel ignored because most of his time is spent with his computer.  We don't even sleep together because of his insomnia - I sleep alone almost every night.  I take care of all the housework, and I take care of his appointment schedule because he forgets otherwise and refuses to put alerts into his phone.  I'm at my wits' end.  He is jeopardizing both our financial future and my health (both physical and mental).  We've gone over the topic of medication and therapy several times over the 5 years that we've been together, but it always ends up in a huge fight.  I don't know what to do.

I don't know what to suggest,

I don't know what to suggest, but I hope you get some good advice.  My husband LOVES taking medication but is very resistant to making behavioral changes.  The medication might make him feel better, but his ADHD and other disorders have had a huge effect on our marriage.  He was unemployed for six years when our children were young.  He has been underemployed since getting fired four years ago.  He does little of the housework and his organizational skills and time management are terrible.  Getting help is vital but yes, it's difficult to persuade an unwilling person to do so.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

5 years of a battle spells it out for you.

I agree with Rosered. 

You could try crying, begging, pleading, demanding, explaining, pouting. . . .probably won't work.  Dragging someone to counseling when they don't want to go, or don't think they need to go is fruitless.

I hope you can find some encourage on this forum of what you can do for your own self.  You are the only one you can change.  There is hope and encouragement here. You are not alone. . . 


Denial, denial

Hi lizzygirl,  Have you seen these posts by Melissa?

A really smart person would recognize that his family is in trouble (without kids you're still a family unit) and make his best efforts to right the ship. With ADHD it will be hard for him, maybe he is afraid, maybe he doubts that you love him enough to stick with him, maybe he is perversely testing you (how far can he push you before you quit and he can wallow in the satisfaction that he always knew you'd leave, it was all your fault, wah wah wah), but if nothing changes nothing changes. Have you put it plainly to him that you are overwhelmed and struggling to continue? And the natural consequence of that is that something must change or his marriage might be over?



All of your spouse's reactions sound like he is afraid, which is understandable. You won't believe the time mine spent telling me that he was smarter than every therapist out there and that ADHD was actually a good thing, because he was so creative and gifted.  I lived it too, the not sleeping together for years because of his untreated insomnia/apnea, taking care of everything, begging him to get help and him refusing. Unfortunately, mine did not until it was way too late for our marriage, but he just made his first appointment with a psychiatrist after a decade of downward spiral for himself. So the denial can be strong, unfortunately. It may be after a lifetime of coping with having adhd and criticism.

Keep with it. Could you take him to a family counselor? You could try giving him Melissa's book. I found it very enlightening, and it does examine the role that both partners play and the things both partners need to do, not just the one with ADHD. It also emphasizes what you can do to be happier and make yourself feel better in the meantime, including how to let go of some things. Also, you sound very thoughtful and probably know, but the time to talk to your spouse is definitely not when you are tired, or upset, or frustrated. And perhaps you will need to give him a loving ultimatum at some point. I have seen folks come around on these boards when they realize that they are losing their families. 

Take care of yourself. I know you are in a painful, exhausting, tough place. I have been there. My very best to you. 

Hi Lizzy, I definitely know

Hi Lizzy,

I definitely know where you are coming from. I'm 31, my ADHD spouse is 32. Ever since he lost his job as a cop (two days before we got married), he's been a mess. He went back to construction work and lost that job due to anger management and time management issues. He got another construction job and was supposedly laid off, but I have my doubts. Since then he's been working in a bar as either a cook or a DJ. We've been married for five years and while things are better now, we still have our rough patches. We're going through one right now, actually. He did get diagnosed with ADHD in that time, but he's been resistant at times to taking his meds. He's currently not on them but has made some behavioral changes in order to cope better. But he's not operating at 100% by no means. You can tell your husband that getting an ADHD diagnosis will not jeopordize his ability to get security clearance, but taking the meds might if he wants to be active duty military. The military doesn't want someone who cannot cope without medications if they are going to be in combat. But if that is his fear, there is no reason why therapy won't work. Have you tried telling him that your marriage is in danger and that you need to go to counseling together? That's how I got my hubby into counseling. We've been at it for over a year and like I've said, things are better, but there is still room for improvement. His time management affects our time together as a couple not to mention he doesn't contribute to the household bills (or the church). He is actively looking for better employment but geez...I shouldn't have to remind him to give me money to pay for his car and motorcycle insurance! Anyhoo, I'd try talking to him about joint counseling and if he still refuses, go on your own. It can be marvelously cathartic and he/she may be able to give you some coping mechanisms. The hardest part of being married to an ADHDer (in my opinion) is feeling like you are alone. Best of luck to you.