Ritalin and divorce

My husband started taking Ritalin about 1 year ago.  In the beginning I noticed some changes in attention and he said it was really helping focus at work.  Only problem our marriage seemed to deteriorate.  He is not the same person. I can't explain when it began.  He started traveling more, becoming more distant. He was offered a job in FL we live in CA and was in the process of offer and acceptance.  It was a HUGE decision we have 2 boys 3 and 5 the 5 year old was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2. Anyway we had a fight and he was SO aggressive and mean I figured he had started it on purpose.  The next day he acted like everything was fine kissed me goodbye came home started talking about the job offer then brought up the fight.  Started screaming in my face and walked out.  I thought he was going to cool off but I got an e-mail at 10:45 saying we were separated and he was no longer interested and further efforts in restoring our marriage.  I was shocked.  I tried to call his phone was off I sent him an email never heard back so I called the next day.  He said he saw the e-mail and was like so who cares.  He filed for divorce that Wed. and moved the rest of his stuff into storage.  He now lives in a hotel in FL with no plans to come home and see the kids. 

I also found out he is telling people I was hitting him while he was laying in bed and that I was controlling him keeping him away from his friends and family and that he did everything for me. I was SHOCKED!  None of this is true.  He has been doing really strange things like taking my video camera from the house without telling me then returning it with all the videos deleted, purposefully not giving me enough money for me and the kids, taking the kids bikes and leaving them at his parents - the list goes on.

I can't figure any of this out.  Can this be the Ritalin or is this really him?  Who leaves their wife and kids and moves 3,000 miles away.  He has not once shown an ounce of remorse or sadness.  When I see him he is chipper and acts like everything is normal. I do not know this man.  The ADHD was bad but this is worse!


My marriage will never be repaired I know that but it would help to get some answers my head is spinning.  Can anyone help?  

ADDers seem to be able to turn themselves "off"

At least mine did. I left him because I got tired of doing all the work both employment and in the house. He won't answer calls and voicemails from me regarding things we need to talk about like "Did the [lost] cat come back?" and "Did you pay the electric bill?". Very important because the electric bill is in MY name. It's like he turned off like a switch. He even took off his wedding ring.

From what I understand, having a disabled child is a severe stressor on any marriage. Do you think your son's autism fed into his decision to turn the switch to the "off" position?

I have no idea.  He has had

I have no idea.  He has had all the classic symptoms of ADHD for years even before the diagnosis.  I have been in therapy and he started taking Ritalin a little over 1 year ago no therapy.  I actually think it could have started when I had my first son.  He probably felt neglected because the universe suddenly didn't revolve around him. I can't figure it out.

I am having those same issues.  He only responds to what he wants to.  The things he is saying and doing are so outrageous.  He is desperate to make me look bad so he looks good in every ones eyes like he did the right thing leaving and moving 3,000 miles away. I don't know this man and his parents cater to his every whim.  He ran home to them and they do everything for him.  His mom dropped of my youngest and she handed me a $225 bill in his name and said this is yours.  Um I don't work I'm a SAHM with a special needs child your son has ALL the money.  I ripped it up and threw it away. She is very protective of him. In her eyes he is perfect!

My mother-in-law is the same way

I can't understand how she doesn't empathize with me. By what we figured out after DH was diagnosed, his dad had it too. Ruined a perfectly good CPA business, and my mother-in-law had to support the family. 

Husband totally cut off communication with me and I email her and say things like "Has he paid the rent?" because we are both on the lease. She says "just email your landlord and say you don't live there any more." I say, I paid the security deposit and this will affect my rental history for me to find a new place. I think she thinks I should just curl up and die because I got tired of taking care of her son.

She let him live at home until he married me when he was 43. Of course, he wasn't husband material. He'd always been taken care of.

so sorry


Just wanted to tell you that I am sorry you are going through this. Hang in there with your therapist or counselor to help deal with the fallout-- it is a lot to process, your husband turning into a stranger. I think the thought that he is not interested in seeing his kids is pretty telling--there is something going on with him and it doesn't sound like you can do anything about it.   

My personal observation is that taking Ritalin absolutely altered my estranged husband's behavior, and his brain, and not in an altogether great way. And that when we had children, the stress hit the fan and he was really affected by it. His mother came right out and asked me recently: "Do you think the ADHD medication changed his brain? He really didn't start acting like this until he took it." I thought about it. I am no doctor, but I know what I have seen over the years. He could focus more, but became SO much more volatile, and the mood swings were so much more extreme and less reasonable. He has developed a painful ability to disassociate and can display a coldness and lack of empathy that he did not used to have. Frankly, much more ready to take offense at any perceived slight, and believing that everything was someone else's fault. He has always been funny about exaggerating or making up stories, but also began throwing in things that weren't even true to make them sound better, on a regular basis. I guess what I am saying is that it is a shame that his doctor didn't require or support therapy or a psychiatric consultation along with the drugs that he prescribed him (mine asked for and got the adderal, began taking fairly high doses of it to function at work, and slowly morphed into the somewhat scary person I am estranged from today. I think he is still taking it but I don't know).  

Who knows? Maybe your DH just couldn't deal with the stress, or life, anymore. Mine is sort of a recluse these days, and can't "deal" with very much of anything beyond playing video games and being on social sites. I finally stopped trying to figure out "why," realizing that there was nothing I could do about it and that some mental illness along with the ADHD was involved, and started thinking about "how" I was going to recover and move on. 

Best to you. Hang in there. Do you have a good attorney? I am sure you want to pay attention to bills in your name and your credit rating before this goes too far. And you legally have the right to ask for support for your child. 

Meds, aggression, and lying

My ex had hit me and we separated for almost a year -- he went to counseling and anger management. He would get in my face and scream till the veins popped out in his neck. However, after we got back together, he tried Strattera, seemed to help a bit but it hurt when he urinated. So he tried Adderall and loved it! But he returned to being really aggressive and MEAN to the point that I was afraid of him again. When I tried to talk to him about it, he said it made him feel like he could finally stand up for himself! When I realized the meds weren't going to help (at least not right away), I just wasn't willing to go through the violence and abuse again to see if we could adjust them. Plus he wouldn't give up Adderall.

He told me once that he had always had a problem with lying and he didn't know why. Would just embellish the truth as a child when he knew people didn't even believe him as he was saying it. After we split, I realized some of the reason he couldn't carry on an intelligent argument was because he never remembered what he had said previously, sometimes because he hadn't been truthful and couldn't remember what he had said. So he would go on the offensive and yell and scream to deflect attention away from that fact.

It's funny - my son had several childhood friends with severe adhd and maybe more. Outlandish lying was very very common in some of these children. And I had a friend (lady) who said she was given meds during a period of her childhood when the schools insisted, and she was baffled as to why she began lying during that time when she had not been that way before.


VERY interesting.  He never

VERY interesting.  He never hit me just pushed me or flicked  towel in my face or water.  He used to get so close though I would have to push him back I think I did hit him in the chest once.  It was scary.  His temper scares the Hell out of me and the lies the unbelievable lies scare me as well. We are due in court in 2 weeks.  I am responsible for a mortgage, utilities and 2 kids and he is trying to apy me so little I can barely go to the grocery store while he has thousands of dollars a suitcase and a room.   At least he is good with money - keeping it anyway. 


 In some ways it may be a blessing but it is still hard the way he is handling it, the way he left. So many unanswered questions but I guess after 15 years together I should be used to it.    

Doingmybest !!!!

I have had the very same experience could you PLEASE email me at  tommycav37 at g mail dot com

Please write me back I have a few questions to ask you before my marriage ends

Me too

I stopped taking Ritalin because I became less of a nice person. Stimulants numb ADDers empathy and sociability, and make hyperfocus trances both easier to fall into and harder to break out of.

Maybe he could try a lower dose or change stimulant medications?

Caffeine pills also can help without drastically altering personality.

MY PERSONALITY REALLY CHANGES ON THE DIFFERENT DOSES OF STIMULANTS, the more you take the more numb you become. Get him to take a couple of days off and talk to him about it when he's sober. Make sure you wait until the "honeymoon period" is over, all the other ADDers I know loved the novelty of feeling "different" on medication for the first month or 2, then the downsides start creeping in on them...

Going through this now

I know I'm a few years late to this thread, but I found your post while desperately searching for answers as to why my husband became an empty stranger after abruptly stopping Vyvanse after 7 months of use. Long story short, about a year and a half ago he went to his primary doc for an ADHD med (I've never been 100% convinced he has ADHD) when he was returning to school pursuing an MBA. He was prescribed Vyvanse and took it without issue (as far I know...he is an awful communicator) for about 4 months when one night he told me "I'm empty, nothing makes me happy, I don't feel like myself". I had no idea where this was coming from. He didn't mention anything else odd until 2 months later when he started having awful panic attacks at work and school. His prescribing doc put him on a beta blocker and sent him to a stress counselor who advised him to stop taking Vyvanse cold turkey. From there he went in to an awful downward spiral of depression, irritability, detachment...he basically wouldn't come home at night, craved every stimulant on earth (alcohol, coffee, working out, new "friends") and eventually left me saying that he loved me but was no longer in love with me---this after 10 amazing years together. I was completely blind sided and had no idea what was going on. It took me months of therapy to start putting the pieces together. He still is convinced that leaving was the right decision, even though he doesn't know why he left and can't cope with the decision. To me he literally just ran away and can't produce an answer to why he destroyed our life. I suggested several times that Vyvanse and a dopamine deficiency is the reason (he finally admitted he has been taking it again on and off since...great), but he claims his psychiatrist said that's not the reason. I don't even believe he is seeing anyone or has spoken to them about the Vyvanse. His mood swings continue to be unreal. He doesn't even care about our dog, who he loved more than anything. Who stops loving a dog?? I don't know what to do anymore. I want my husband back but he refuses to live in reality and get help.

Anyhow--I was shocked to find out that other people have gone through the same thing due to stimulant use by their partner. Any advice, suggestions, support from your experiences is greatly appreciated. I hope your situations have gotten better since your initial posts.

I doubt that your H only has ADHD

He likely has another disorder as well.  He has "painted you black", which is a red flag for a personality disorder.


I've been there.  H lied about me to his family.  He said I was worst person, evil, etc.   I was essentially Hitler!  Seriously.   I'm either the best thing in the world....or Hitler....two extremes.   


H can "turn himself off" to me...paints me black...and says that I'm out of his life.   Usually they can get away with this behavior if they have enabling family members....parents/siblings/friends.

Thanks for your insight

I totally agree that my H is struggling with way more than ADHD. In fact, I am not convinced he even has ADHD. That's why I think he experienced such negative effects of a very powerful medication. 

He also definitely has issues with an inability to communicate and avoiding negative emotions, which I think explains his reaction to the withdrawal symptoms he was experiencing--rather than coping with them he ran from the "pain", which included running from our marriage when he thought I was the source of his negative feelings. In the meantime I fear he has become dependent on stimulants and is using them to escape reality. The sad part is that people who avoid their emotions are at a greater risk for anxiety and depression so I feel like he has just created a vicious cycle for himself.