Reply To: how do I talk to my undiagnosed husband about his self medicating?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Treating Your ADHD how do I talk to my undiagnosed husband about his self medicating? Reply To: how do I talk to my undiagnosed husband about his self medicating?


A lot of people with ADHD self medicate, whether it be alcohol, weed, opiates, uppers or any other drugs you can think of. I have ADHD and I’ve done a lot of these things just to shut my brain down. I can’t speak for your husband but I can tell you about me. Most people with ADD/ADHD also have other issues, which is called comorbidity. This just means that there are simultaneously 2 or more chronic diseases or issues. With me I have ADHD, anxiety and am highly sensitive. The first two are somewhat self explanatory but being highly sensitive isn’t something people easily understand. When you grow up with ADHD, especially undiagnosed, which was and still is quite common with girls, it’s very rough not knowing why you’re so different from the other kids and your parents don’t know why you act the way you do so they use discipline to “fix” you. Teachers do the same thing. So picture this: you have trouble getting to sleep at night because your mind is going a mile a minute and never, ever stops. Morning comes and you can’t get out of bed because you feel like you just ran a 5k but your mom is getting really ticked off because she feels you shouldn’t have stayed up so late. Now you have to find something to wear in your very unorganized room, find your books, realize you totally forgot to do your homework so you stop looking for clothes and start doing the homework and here comes your mom again wanting to know why you’re not dressed and then gets mad because she now knows you didn’t do your homework.So now I’m grounded and told my room must be cleaned when I get home.
Now I have to go to school looking disheveled, feeling hungry and full of anxiety because the kids will make fun of me,the teacher isn’t happy I didn’t do my homework and doubles it, or worse she makes me stay inside for recess and now I can’t get rid of some of the constant energy I have so I end up fidgeting which causes the teacher to yell at me in front of the class and calls my mom. One. Big. Circle. A circle I have no idea how to get out of because I don’t have the tools to do so. Can you imagine what your sel-esteem would be like if your day consisted of having a wandering mind that goes from one topic to the next, constantly forgetting things, not understanding how to organize or keep things organized and in general feeling like you can’t do anything right and often saying the wrong thing that can hurt people’s feelings but it wasn’t your intention at all. These are all things we must learn while the rest of you already naturally know these things.

Now I’m an adult. I have a lot of anxiety which stems from years of feeling different and never quite having your shit together. But more important is being highly sensitive. When I walk in to a room I can tell how people are feeling by little mannerisms most people wouldn’t notice. Joe has a smile on his face while saying hello but there are little signs that tell me he’s annoyed with something and I wonder if it’s something I did or said. Sarah is getting coffee and her back is to me but I can feel a deep sadness in her. I take on people’s emotions and it can be draining on top of the ADHD. I want to help people so they don’t have those feelings.
Now we’re back to your husband. I’m not in any way, shape or form a professional I’m just giving you my opinions and my own experiences. I’m guessing your husband is feeling your confusion, frustration, anger, hurt and dissapointment. He also probably knows you feel abandoned but he doesn’t think he’s good enough for you and doesn’t want to disappoint you even more, or it’s possible that he knows you don’t like some of the things he’s doing but its a catch 22 for him because without being a little relaxed he’s anxious and probably thinking you don’t like him the way he is whether it’s true or not.
I don’t know if your husband has ADD/ADHD or not. Only a trained psychiatrist can do the testing. If he. Does have it there are meds he could try but what I’ve found out is seeing an ADD coach worked way better than antidepressants, anxiety meds or ADHD meds but everyone is different. What he can’t do is ignore what’s happening and self medicating. ADD can be hereditary so you might want to have the kids tested if your husband is diagnosed with it.
Last,learn how to communicate with each other by seeing a counselor together. You’ll be surprised at the difference in your marriage.