Refuses to give up cannabis and try proper meds

Thank you for all previous support. We did manage to get to a specialist psychiatrist in UK, and he told HB very clearly that he MUST give up cannabis for at least four months to clear it out of his system, before he would do a meds trial to eliminate doubt about potential ADHD. My mother in law originally read Melissa Orlov's article in the NYT three years ago, and it so clearly seemed to describe the endless mysterious issues with our marriage that caused such confusion and insecurity, and lumbered me with every single possible responsibility while he did exactly what he liked (don't know what to this day, but it certainly didn't make him happy - probably cannabis even when he said he had given up). To begin with, ie just after the appointment, he appeared to be agreeing that this was a good idea. Now he point blank refuses saying it would be like replacing cannabis with 'cocaine' and that is 'clearly a bad idea'. I think this is also because I would then be 'right' and he cannot bear the idea - that he and not me (or in fact his uncontrolled condition) is to blame for the break down in our marriage. I am sure this is not in any way a proper decision based on rational grounds and the need to restore his relationships with his wife and children. I am sure it is knee jerk reaction to his hostility and anger towards me for always trying to help, sometimes in ways that simply did not and could not work, and just caused me further pain. He did state quite clearly during the appointment that he had no intention of keeping his promises towards me. His family as far as I can tell prefer him in the state he is in - one of them 'employs' him for menial tasks and pocket money. I want the man I could see there back. If not for me - possibly too much damage - but for our three children. I am terribly nervous now, and when with him feel panicky due to all the endless shocks big and small that his behaviour caused when we still lived together. Any advice?

Greetings from America (New England, specifically) :)

Hi Linsy,

It is a scientific fact that ADHDers are LESS LIKELY to self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs if they are being medically treated for this condition.  What's more, Dr. Ned Hallowell, author of the Driven to Distraction series (he has ADHD as well) states that in his practice, he has found marijuana to be the WORST drug that someone with ADHD can possibly take, due to the fact it takes someone with a compromised motivational system and lowers their motivation and focus even further.  I was actually surprised at how strongly he felt about it, given the variety of drugs most people would deem worse.   However, given the particular issues we ADHDers have, neurologically speaking, it makes sense.  He even states that it "destroys lives" in reference to people with ADHD. 

It's REALLY too bad that he has to wait 4 months.  I wonder if this is really necessary?  I know nothing about the health system in the UK, so my question might seem incredibly dim, but here it goes anyway:  Can you seek another opinion?  I'm American, and with my particular health insurance, if I don't like my doctor, I can switch as many times as I want within my particular plan.  I had one psychiatrist who didn't BELIEVE in ADHD, so that was a bit of a problem, as you might imagine.  I just think that if he could start by getting the medication in his system, he might be willing to part with the cannabis.  I'm not a doctor, though, so perhaps there is an actual good reason for what he has said? 

Another possibility:  does this doctor appear to believe in ADHD?  I had recently read online that in the UK, people are JUST starting to believe in the existence of ADHD, but that is still resistance.   It was just one article, and I don't know if that meets with your actual experience or not.

I'm sorry I don't have anything more to offer.  Good luck, and I hope everything works out for you, your husband, and your 3 children.  Tell your husband that life is better for many of us with medication and other treatment for ADHD.  There are so many things you can do to make life better.  It doesn't have to be like it is for him now!  His cannabis dependence is MAKING HIS LIFE and HIS ADHD WORSE!!!

Best of luck and let us know if there are any other questions or concerns you or your husband has.  Many of us on this site LIVE the experience of ADHD!


Linsy's picture

thank you so much!

I really appreciate your reply. It is just what I feared. The doctor is very good, and one of the rare psychiatrists in the UK who specialises in ADHD among other conditions. It is very difficult indeed to get diagnosed in the UK and we got there after I dared to contact him directly (with husband's permission). Husband's coping strategy is to blame me for breakdown in marriage, and give me loads of 'advice' about how to cure my 'emotional issues'. He appears not to be giving himself any advice about anything, except about how 'harmless' cannabis is to him. There was a flicker of hope, but now I am in despair again about his behaviour which I find deeply upsetting and nerve racking. Thank you for taking the time to write. We don't live togiether as it is unbearable in his volatile state.

Hello again...

Hi Linsy,

I'm sorry if my words made you feel worse. 

It's unfortunate that the UK is just catching on to this diagnosis.  I remember when I was in college and the term "ADHD" started to be utilized, and the backlash toward it.  I remember thinking it sounded terminology fabricated for the lazy...and I HAVE ADHD!!!  Even when I was originally diagnosed, I dismissed it for the reasons above.  I feel for you!

I can't believe I didn't believe in ADHD... I guess that is because I didn't have the understanding from having taught, read, and finally seeing myself in my students (wait a second...I'm JUST like those kids!)... Not the greatest epiphany, but it beats living in the dark.


PS.  I love how you spell "behavior," with a "u."  And perhaps you are aware of how much we Americans adore your lovely accents :)!

Linsy's picture

didn't make me feel worse

Don't worry, it is just good to hear from someone, as I feel very isolated. His family are just inert, perfectly happy to watch the whole thing implode without lifting a finger, even the ones who are meant to be my friends.

My owb friends and family tell me to give up, but I can't for my children's sake. I am still groping around in the dark with ADHD, but the description of the effect on marriage was far closer to our truth than other 'explanations' such as narcissistic personality disorder or 'depression' (he never seemed to feel sad!)

Also, my godfather was American and I adored him. Love America and have found so much inspiration on these forums and others for many years.



Hi Linsy, i'm sorry you are

Hi Linsy,

i'm sorry you are struggling with this. I also have a problem with my ADHD husband who is now doing marijuana every day. He is totally addicted and doesn't seem to see it at all. He is convinced that marijuana is good for him somehow. His psychiatrist diagnosed him with ADHD and prescribed dex. He is now taking both: dex and pot. I'm not sure it reduced his desire to smoke it or the frequency that he actually smokes it. He thinks that dex makes him wired during the day and pot helps him relax at night. Although the reason he actually started doing it at night when I'm sleeping was because I'm pregnant and couldn't stand the smell of it during the day and kept saying that he can't do it around me. Before that, it was both at the same time. So I don't really buy his "relax" reason. When I asked him why he does it, he would try to give all kinds of reasons. To reduce boredom, to medicate his emotions, to calm him down and sometimes just to get high. Sometimes he compares pot to vitamins and sometimes he says it's his religion. The truth is, he doesn't always know himself why he is doing it. And I don't particularly observe any significant improvements when he is on pot. He doesn't seem to really enjoy anything in life.. that he states himself. I've already tried so hard to get him to realize that in that case he really does need to address his symptoms and problems: the fact that he doesn't enjoy life, ADHD symptoms etc. But he equates "addressing problems" to doing pot. I still keep trying, but it really feels hopeless. His family is also taking a "non-involvement" approach to his problems, I don't understand why. His father actually does pot himself and probably also has ADHD but yet doesn't believe in it - so I guess that's one part of why. While my family and friends are telling me to give up. The psychiatrist didn't seem to do much other than prescribing the pill, even after I wrote to him about our problems. In fact, from my husband's words, he almost encouraged my husband to do pot (now perhaps that was just hearing what he wished). All the psychiatrist really did was diagnose with ADHD, prescribe the pill and say "see you in 6 months".

I am struggling to explain the facts to my husband. That it really would be better if he were off pot. I don't know anymore what kind of arguments or motivation to come up with. But I'm still looking for solutions.

Hang in there. Hope at least some of the problems resolve for you.


Linsy's picture

I am so sorry

Dear Lisi - you being pregnant must make it much worse. The three pregnancies were fine, he always fell apart afterwards though and became childlike and dependent just when I needed him most. I can't explain anything to my husband, he can't hear me and becomes abusive if I try. When he signs off an email as 'Your loving husband' I want to scream. Best of luck to you and your baby and all blessing for a happier future. I wish cannabis addiction was treated with the same level of concern as alcohol or pills, but it isn't because it doesn't kill you.

Thanks Linsy! I'm really

Thanks Linsy! I'm really hoping that MLA extract, or whatever it is, that they found stops mice from doing pot really gets developed for humans.

My husband is really looking forward to the baby. He wants to be a good father, whatever that "good father" means, which I guess is a good thing. But I'm secretly afraid that it will just turn into higher expectations on me and more complaining about any work he has to do. He is complaining already now when the house isn't clean because he messed it up, and he is "the only one doing work" - an impression he gets when he does dishes once a day and sleeps in till 4pm. 

Lots of hugs and support to you too! I hope one day our husbands get some revelation that will change their addiction.

Linsy's picture

Don't live with him

Asked him to leave 2 years ago. Things much easier since. Trying to rely on someone to share responsibility who refuses is exhausting. Less exhausting is doing everything myself. I would have pulled plug years ago if his family in particular hadn't acted as if it was all normal. Not a single persons said, you deserve more than this. But we do, and so do our children. We have been married 25 years this year, and I was main breadwinner for probably 20 of them including paying interest on his huge failed business debts. I feel thoroughly stupid now but have not given up trying to get him onto ADHD treatment for the sake of my children (23, 20, 11). Hope it works out but do think hard about yourself and your child and put you and them FIRST in all considerations. Do you have parents? If so what do they think? My mother died so long ago and with her I lost all support from another adult - another reason why I carried on trying to make it work. But doing marriage by yourself is a very lonely place - looking back floods light on it all.