When ADHD Energy Overloads the Family

Q:

My husband, who has ADHD, is a very successful businessman. He’s away on business for two weeks a month, which is a lovely, quiet time for the kids and me. When he comes back home, his high energy level is tough to adjust to. And he messes up the house. I miss him when he’s gone, but he drives me crazy when he’s home. Any advice?

Melissa Orlov, a frequent ADDitude contributor with Dr. Ned Hallowell, writes about ADHD and marriage and offers relationship advice to adults with ADD.
A:

When your ADHD husband arrives home from his business trip, plan family events that take advantage of his energy levels — going to the circus or movies together or playing sports.

If two weeks of uninterrupted activity is too much for you - and it probably is — arrange some quiet time for yourself. Join the kids at the library to study a couple of times a week, or spend a night out with your girlfriends for some down time.

If his ADHD messes are too much to handle, consider hiring a cleaning service two times a week when he is in town. Understand that the need for quiet and neatness is your need, not his, and don’t begrudge him his fun. His energy level is probably not going to change, so figure out ways to make it a positive force in your lives. And remember to accept some of the responsibility for the upset you are experiencing.

Melissa is co-author of a blog on ADHD and marriage at adhdmarriage.com, and coauthored Married to Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell and his wife, Sue. She is also the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage.

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