ADHD and meds – help non-ADHD spouse understand

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    • #178350

      Hi All,

      I’m trying to better understand what my DH is going through with his meds and would like to hear from others with ADHD (non-ADHD also welcome if you have insight into the topic).

      My DH has recently become a lot more disciplined with taking his meds, however there are days when he does not take them. He can often act in disruptive ways on such days and while this can be upsetting in the way he interacts with me on those days, I do want to better understand things from his end. He says he does not take his meds on days he is really tired. He is on lisdexamphetamine. I know that they do seem to wake him up (during the day – he has no problem sleeping at night), so maybe he just wants to sleep more? However I thought that meds usually had to be taken daily. Can anyone shed light on this and also if anyone takes med breaks to give me insight into why (if you don’t mind sharing). I just feel I am being one sided and ignorant at the moment and perhaps too staunch. I don’t want to make my DH feel like I am controlling his med intake as it’s down to him, but equally I have noticed that our troubles occur when he is not on them so I did voice that I noticed this. I have asked my DH the question of why he does not take them when he is tired, but he is a man of few words so I sometimes find it hard to understand where he is coming from. I know it probably is the obvious answer of he just needs more sleep, but it’d help me understand better if I can hear what that might feel like in relation to meds/no meds.

      Hope I’m not coming across offensive by asking the question, just I need my lack of understanding on an emotional level (I kind of get it in a literal sense) to be lifted to be supportive of my partner rather than feeling hard done by if he is going through something really difficult. Equally, if usually it is the case that meds should be taken daily if prescribed as such that would be useful to know too as I don’t know if this is standard (in terms of skipping days) or not or if it’ just different for everyone.


    • #178438
      Penny Williams

      ADHD stimulant medication doesn’t have to be taken daily — it helps when it’s in your system and doesn’t when it’s not, it does not build. However, some people struggle with the large swings between days on and days off medication and do better if they take it daily.

      A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #178529

      Hello ADHDSpouse123,
      I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age but did not really start taking medication until I was 22. Unless I am sick, I do not skip a dose unless the days activity dictates it; by this I mean intense or unusual physical activity but even then, if I’m around people I will take like a quarter or something simply because I just have a hard time paying attention to people in daily conversation, and history shows that I misinterpret other peoples words or actions (probably because I missed half of what they said, not taken that days dose). I exercise on a daily basis and do not take the days dose until afterward, when I notice I’m starting to feel “pushed/driven to move” or agitated. My sister and father have both been diagnosed with ADD (no hyperactivity). Both of them will sometimes a skip dose which up until I spoke with them about it really did not make any sense. From my experience everything in life just runs smoother when you take it (again that’s my personal life experience, I can’t speak for anyone else just hoping to provide some insight).My sister and father have said that when they skip a dose it is either because they forgot, OR they are doing something they like. Both recognize that they can be argumentative, conversationally inattentive, *insert common ADD symptom here*, etc and both do make an effort to combat these behaviors. I love them both and am not being insulting when I say this but they they largely fail. A while back my sister began to try the “minimal dose” idea rather than outright skipping it and this seems to help tremendously. So hold that thought for a second and let’s skip over to one of my sister’s friends who has been diagnosed with ADD, the only reason I even know she was is because she decided to stop taking her meds outright and all the sudden this calm friend of my sisters is talking with a word frequency over time that rivals automatic weapons. As it turns out she was prescribed lisdexamphetamine and had told my sister that it was almost like “moving underwater”. My sister who had also been prescribed lisdexamphetamine (in the past) stated that she felt it had the same effect on her. I too have been prescribed lisdexamphetamine and felt no such effect. Now skipping back over to my family, my father once by accident took his morning dose, promptly forgot, and took another. The result he said was an unpleasant sensation of feeling “drugged”, “like I was on painkillers or something”. He disliked the feeling so much he went out and bought a pill minder (you know the multi compartment box with the days date on it) so as not to repeat the error, I mention this because the guy rarely buys anything and if he does he uses a coupon or its at as low a price he could find. It is not uncommon for one stimulant to be preferred over another after trying several of them, when I was younger I started out on methylphenidate but for whatever reason made me depressed, when switched to adderall this depression does not occur, a change in the dose or stimulant might help. Hope things work out for the both of you.

      • #179701

        Thanks so much for your reply @CVE.0xNAN . That’s really helped to clarify how much meds can be so very totally different in terms of its effects on each person. I hope to bear this in mind next time and hold my patience more seeing as it is not a regular occurrence anymore in terms of meds being skipped.

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