Could Your Husband Have ADD?

Does your husband’s behavior ever irritate you? If you thought “yes,” then you’re probably in the majority. However, take a moment to consider the things he does that irk you. Are they things that wives commonly have complaints about; such as, leave the toilet seat up, get water all over the floor while taking a shower, forget to rinse dirty dishes when leaving them in the sink, or leave clothes in your path so that you’ll eventually be the one to pick them up? Or, are they things that you rarely hear others complain about; things that have caused serious arguments in which your husband just cannot seem to explain his repeated behaviors? Is your husband’s work performance also affected by his actions?

For years, I have been the confidant of a friend regarding the frustrations that she has had with her husband. Because my friend is so easy going, these venting sessions are generally comedic in nature. I was able to help her out simply by listening and getting a good laugh, but if it were my husband, I guarantee it would be no laughing matter. I have expressed my admiration of her for being able to stand some of the things he does. Her response has always been the same, “He has always been this way, and there’s no changing him, so why waste my time and energy being upset?” At one point, I asked if there was the possibility that her husband could have attention deficit disorder. I asked only because my husband and I have first hand knowledge of behaviors associated with ADD since our son was diagnosed a few years ago. My friend’s husband was exhibiting similar behaviors. After consulting with a doctor, it turns out that he does, in fact, have ADD.

So, what types of behaviors was my friend dealing with? Some common behaviors associated with ADD are distractibility, impulsivity, restlessness, concentration difficulties, disorganization, and forgetfulness. She was dealing with all of these.

Here is what you may notice if your husband possibly has ADD.

Your husband is easily distracted and seems to always loose his train of thought. My friend often complains that her husband begins a sentence but doesn’t finish it. He’ll say something like, “So what do you think of…” and will then walk away leaving my friend to wonder, “What do I think of what?” Over time, she has learned that following up with him isn’t worthwhile because he usually has absolutely no recollection of what he intended to say.

Your husband has difficulty paying attention and maintaining conversations. Many times, my friend has been in the middle of a conversation with her husband and realizes that he has simply stopped talking. In these instances, she would repeat the last thing she said only to have him say, “What?” or “Oh, I don’t remember what I was saying.” On one occasion, he approached while she was working on the computer and asked, “What are you working on?” In the middle of explaining in detail what she was doing, she looked back over her shoulder only to realize that he had already left the room.

Your husband tends to be disorganized and often procrastinates. One time, I received a text from my friend which read, “How long do you think these will be here?” Included, was a picture of a pile of boxes. The pile was approximately four feet high by four feet wide, and was located in the front entryway of their house. Considering the fact that this pile of boxes was large and partially obstructing the stairs to the second floor of their house, I responded that they would surely be gone by the end of the day. I also took into consideration that her husband has a home office where he usually stores work related materials. Three days later, I received only a picture message that contained no text. It was again of the boxes, except the pile appeared to be slightly smaller and had been relocated off to the side of the stairs. This was an instance where my friend bit her tongue and never mentioned the issue. The boxes remained in her entryway for approximately four weeks.

Your husband has trouble keeping track of appointments or obligations. When it comes to making plans, in many marriages, it’s the wife who handles this task. Most wives can tell their husbands of future plans, and their husbands will remember said plans. The difference for my friend is that it doesn’t matter how many times she tells him; her husband cannot remember plans. She could tell him a month prior, a week prior, a day prior, or even an hour prior, and he will still ask, “So, what are we doing?” He is generally oblivious to who, what, when, where, and what time until the moment just before they need to leave or until they finally arrive at their destination.

Your husband has difficulty starting and finishing projects. My friend’s husband is required to complete weekly, or at the very least, monthly expense reports for his job. At one point, a period of ten months had passed, and he still had not completed an expense report. My friend became very concerned that they would not be reimbursed for a few thousand dollars worth of expenses, so she agreed to do the report for him. She took on the task of chronologically organizing piles of receipts which then had to be taped onto pieces of paper by week and documented. A job that could be completed in ten minutes or less, if done weekly, had taken her approximately ten hours. The only thing left for her husband to do was record his employee identification number onto a cover sheet and fax the report. Consequently, the expense report did not get faxed for another two weeks or so.

Your husband misplaces things or forgets important items when he leaves the house. “Where’s my wallet?” is a phrase that my friend has heard often throughout her marriage. There have been times when she was glad to have brought her purse to lunch because when the bill arrived, her husband had forgotten his wallet. However, the time when her husband had to drive quite a long distance for work and ran out of gas, only to realize that his wallet was missing, wasn’t as easy to remedy. There are also times when she packs him a healthy lunch and will place his keys directly on top of the container so that he doesn’t forget it. Half of the time, the keys are gone but the lunch is still there. Most puzzling, is when my friend tries to remind her oldest son not to forget important items for school or sporting events, and her husband interjects with, “Don’t keep reminding him! He needs to learn for himself.”

Even though my friend and I have had many good laughs over some of her husband’s behaviors, ADD is no laughing matter. It’s not just a childhood condition but also affects many unsuspecting adults. According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), approximately 4% to 6% of the US population has ADD which equates to about 8 to 9 million adults. If left undiagnosed, this disorder can cause extreme difficulties in many areas of a person’s life including personal relationships and work performance. If you suspect that attention deficit disorder may be impacting your life or the life of someone close to you, a health care professional may be able to help. There are many coping strategies that can reduce ADD tendencies, and in some cases, prescription medication can help as well.

As for my friend and her husband, life is easier simply because they have discovered a reason for many of his less than desirable behaviors. This certainly doesn’t mean that their marriage is perfect now, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.


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