In Consultation

March/April 2011

Hidden in Plain Sight: Adult AD/HD is Too Often Unrecognized

Q: A couple has asked me to help them deal with the husband's new AD/HD diagnosis and their past 20 years of discord. Financial problems loom large, and both seem exhausted.
Where do I begin?

A: You describe an all-too-familiar scenario. By the time couples finally realize that adult AD/HD is the common thread running through their long-term woes, they're often hanging onto their last, frayed nerve—and maybe their last dollar, too. It often takes a decisive event—discovery of secret debts, a job loss, an affair, an eye-opening article about AD/HD—to focus attention after years of missed red flags.

It's not solely the symptoms that afflict relationships, though adults with untreated AD/HD have roughly double the divorce rate. It's also the years of misattributing the symptoms to lack of caring, selfishness, passive-aggressiveness, and immaturity. Undiagnosed adults often lug around a lifetime of poor coping strategies and cognitive distortions; over time, the same becomes true for their mates. With both people reacting blindly to the effects of AD/HD, which counseling frequently doesn't identify, their life together can feel like a wild roller-coaster ride.

Jeanine complains she's been riding the roller coaster throughout her 20-year marriage to Bart, trying to hang on and "manage the unmanageable" of his chronic…

Already have an account linked to your magazine subscription? Log in now to continue reading this article.

(Need help? Click here or contact us to ask a question.)

Not currently a subscriber? Subscribe Today to read the rest of this article!

Previous: The Nightgown
Next: Case Study

Read 3180 times
Comments - (existing users please login first)
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *
E-mail Address *
Website URL
Message *