Question about untreated ADD

I keep reading from members here that they feel their spouses ADD has gradually gotten worse over time, and blame this on the condition being left untreated. Is this common? Does being left 'untreated' include medication? My husband is trying to avoid meds, and I am 100% supportive of that decision. I am VERY gun shy when it comes to meds. For years he was mis-diagnosed and given anti-depressants and they ALWAYS made him very moody and irritable and MUCH worse than without them. He was even given Concerta once when a GP diagnosed him with 'possible' ADD and apparently figured 'what the hell' and honestly it made him the same...markedly moody and irritable. Last fall when he went off the deep end and I asked him to leave he went on Effexor (I think...some anti-depressant) and I blame it for a lot of the "monster" I dealt with for the 2 months he was on it...he was an emotional mess. I can understand why the ADs didn't work, since depression is not the accurate diagnosis, but the concerta made him horrible I am terrified at the thoughts of meds.

Anyway..we're starting counseling tomorrow and I'm anxious to know if it is true that ADD is like any other 'disorder' and gets worse if left untreated (such as depression or bipolar).

I don't know

I don't have the long term experience (hope someone chimes in who does) but my guy isn't being treated.

He tried ritalin (I think) several years ago, but felt too hyper on it, I think it was the lowest dose.

In the past year he's tried wellbutrin, which is an antidepressant but often prescribed for add.  We saw no difference, but he had terrible headaches for weeks and would wake up in the middle of the night on it.  He also tried Strattera for several weeks, he thought he might have seen some difference in focus at work (I saw NO difference at home), but had side effects such as pain during orgasm (fun!), crying over small issues (almost like a woman) and waking in the night, so he stopped taking that too.

He doesn't see a therapist either, but reads about ADD and we talk about it and basically he tries to use a lot of systems to work around it and asks me to tell him if he's being all "ADDy" so he can try to snap out of it (like going on and on about something without letting others talk).  Of course he doesn't have a terrible case of ADD, not very impulsive, not at all abusive or mean (although he'll say hurtful thinks because he's not thinking about what he says).  It's mostly distraction and forgetfulness (but to a larger extent than just being absent minded).

So I think he's doing ok untreated and hope if we work together and he keeps the same attitude towards it, we'll be ok and that it doesn't get worse.  Of course sometimes he drives me nuts :)

Strattera did bad things to my husband

Strattera was originally developed as an anti-depressant but wasn't very successful. For a few people with ADHD it works well, and has the advantage of being non-stimulant and the prescriptions are renewable and the doctor could give him samples. But it made my husband even more depressed (he was diagnosed with depression before the ADD). He could not tolerate it long enough to figure out if it was helping the ADD. When he went off it he was so depressed that I feared for his life. If we'd had insurance, I'd have had him hospitalized. It's a wonder he was ever willing to take any ADD drugs after that.

Sometimes drugs are not the answer. I see no difference in my husband at home, (I haven't worked with him since our marriage) but he swears it helps him with work. I just have to be content that he's working, even though he still does nothing at home.

We went to counseling today

We went to counseling today and I mentioned this. She said that people with ADD do need to learn to manage the ADD, emphasizing that it ADD has pros and cons, and the issues that need management are of course the one that cause harm to the marriage, family, and the ADDer themselves. I feel better about his not taking medication, she doesn't feel it is necessary since he's not incapable of holding  job or thinking clearly. Fortunately, his job (head of IT for our city) keeps him busy a stimulated..therefore he succeeds at work.

So I suppose whatever works for each individual situation is good..and what doesn't is what needs to be managed. Otherwise, the condition will never improve, but not necessarily get worse..that's what I understood.

He Still Needs Treatment

Hi Sherri -- I meant to write yesterday to congratulate you on getting into counseling!  That's great.

I think meds are very individual, and as you know, Dr. Hallowell doesn't take them.  BUT, if you read his books, he is very careful to say that without meds it is very important to exercise regularly, take fish oil and eat foods high in Omega 3s, etc.  In other words, if your husband is not taking meds he should take the responsibility of "treating" himself in non-medicinal ways in order to manage his ADD symptoms.  If you don't have Hallowell's book I can quote the relevant sections for you.

Also, I have mentioned this in other posts but I think you, of all people, would really love the series of free emails you can get from a program I did called Marriage Fitness.  They are totally in the same line of thought of working on yourself, etc., and they are very inspirational and can help keep you going.  I think the entire program is great and my husband has agreed to go through it with me again (I was on the Lone Ranger track the first time around but it worked in getting him back in the door and wanting to work on our marriage).  But, if you don't want to spend the money on the programs, you can get free emails periodically and I really loved them and looked forward to them.  You can sign up at

Good luck and keep me posted!

Thank you!

Thanks! I'm not sure who here mentioned fish oil, but I got him a huge bottle of a higher quality fish oil last payday and said "I read it is really good for ADD" and he looked at me like I was nuts, but popped open the bottle and is taking them. :) I looked at that website a few days ago..saw the name of the guy who runs it in someone else's post. I didn't see where you sign up for the free e-mails, but I will go back and look for it. I am all for educating myself as much as possible. He keeps telling me how much it means to him to have me take an interest in him and his ADD and I keep reminding him that I'm perfectly happy to do so, and all I ask in return is the same dedication on his part. So far, so good. Which of Dr. Hallowell's books do you like most? I am going to try and get to the library soon. Our counselor has them, we discussed this site and she showed me the books she had. Driven to Distraction was one of them. (I hope I got that name right)

I am very happy for you that your hubby is going through the marriage fitness program with you...I wish you guys all the best. I share what I learn and keep you posted! Please do the same!