Men with Adult ADHD. The Effect on Their Families.

by Pete Quily on April 25, 2006 · 29 comments

The Sydney Morning Herald has an article on the problems of Adult ADD

I get wives on the phone saying, ‘If he doesn’t get help soon, I’m leaving,”‘ says Joy Toll of ADDults with ADHD (NSW),a voluntary organisation. Toll works on the organisation’s helpline.

Unfortunately some men who have ADD but are not officially diagnosed often stay in denial too long, sometimes with severe negative consequence. I have had many calls and emails from men who are in the midst of:

a) severe relationship problems with their wife/girlfriend
b) an ongoing divorce
c) just getting out of a divorce

where untreated ADD is a large factor in the these problems.

Sometimes they don’t know they might have ADD, other times they were told but didn’t want to admit it.

The cost of denial can be very high. Some of my Adult ADHD coaching clients have no problem with ADD at work, they’ve managed to find an ADD friendly job and modified it to work well for them, but do have problems at home due to ADD. I often coach them about developing better communication skills around issues of stress and time management.

It’s especially important for people with ADHD to try and learn these skills before having children – not only do they manage parenting better, but the children are less likely to replicate the same patterns of behaviour,” she says.

But for many people, the first inkling they have ADHD is when their own children are diagnosed with the disorder – and a parent sees their own childhood behaviour mirrored in their sons or daughters, explains Dr Julian Trollo r, a neuropsychiatrist with the Neuropsychiatric Institute at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

That’s why I think it’s so crucial that people who think they have ADD need to learn more about it and if necessary see an medical professional to find out if they have ADD or not.

Getting a diagnosis of ADD doesn’t mean someone will put a gun to your head and force a pill down your throat. You get to decide how you treat your ADD if you have it. You get to enjoy the benefits of the different methods of treating ADD, and suffer the costs of not treating ADD. ADD medications can be a very useful tool, but pills don’t teach skills. They can help put you in a better postion to learn them, but you still need to learn them.

The Harvard/NYU/W.H.O. adult ADHD screener test takes 5 minutes to do and is one of the most popular pages on my ADHD resource website.

If you have a spouse who has ADD, you might consider checking out the ADHD Partner Yahoo E-Group. Seems like a pretty active group.

One of the many reasons I focus on the strengths of Adults with ADD is to encourage those people (usually men but not always) who might otherwise be afraid of admitting they might have ADD to get a diagnosis.

One reason they don’t seek a diagnosis of ADHD is because they’re afraid someone might use it as yet another negative label to beat them up with and use against them as a weapon.

Another is the John Wayne myth, that a real man doesn’t ever need anyone to help him. Bullshit.

A real man seeks help when it would be useful to him, and offers it to others as well. It’s a sign of weakness to be afraid to ask for help, not a sign of strength. It shows that you’re scared of what other people might think of you and let their opinions and judgments or fear of them determine how you live your life.

If you were in denial about having ADD, and got diagnosed and treated, what got you to change your mind and seek help? Was it worth it?

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