Book Review: The ADHD Effect on Marriage

Suspect attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) is affecting your relationship? This book can help you identify — and resolve — common problems ADHD couples cope with.

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By Melissa Orlov (Specialty Press)

Dozens of books target adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), detailing its highly variable symptoms, the “emotional baggage” common to late-diagnosis adults, and healing strategies. This bounty of choices is important, given that the 10 to 30 million U.S. adults with ADD/ADHD grapple not only with varying diagnostic subtypes and gender-specific symptoms, but also with a range of co-existing conditions and education and socioeconomic levels. To fully educate themselves, most adults find it necessary to read at least four or five books. Although many general guides touch on the predictable challenges to intimate relationships, only a handful of books focus exclusively on this complex topic. The ADHD Effect on Marriage is a helpful addition.

The first third of the book explains ADHD symptoms and how they can, when left untreated, create destructive patterns in both partners. The rest of the book is devoted to the title’s six-step approach to building better relationships: cultivating empathy for your spouse; addressing obstacle emotions; getting treatment; improving communication; setting boundaries and finding your voices; and, of course, reigniting romance.

Orlov fleshes out each step with her own observations (her husband of 20 years was diagnosed five years ago), and with comments that readers have posted to her blog. Particularly valuable are the tips for avoiding misrepresentations of ADD/ADHD symptoms, so that the couple can focus on problem solving, instead of further damaging the relationship by deepening the couple’s hurt, anger, and confusion. This book enlightens and informs.

Reviewed by Gina Pera, a veteran journalist, ADD/ADHD advocate, and author of the award-winning book Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? She writes three blogs, including You and Me — and Adult ADHD.

Giveaway: To enter to win one of two free copies of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, leave a comment telling us about your biggest relationship problems (and how you’ve worked to solve them). All comments must be left by midnight (EST) on August 31st, 2011.