Could You Have Adult ADD? Might It Affect Your Relationships?

The idea’s been out there for years but adults are still ignorant to the possibility that they, even fully grown, are prone to a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  The condition is normally associated with children, so much so that web searches will instantly return results about the suitability of such a wide diagnosis and medication of kids with the condition.  But the set of symptoms characteristic of ADD is also common among adults:

Symptoms in this category are sometimes overlooked because they are less outwardly disruptive than the ADD/ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity—but they can be every bit as troublesome. The symptoms of inattention and concentration difficulties include:

  • “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
  • extreme distractibility; wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track.
  • difficulty paying attention or focusing, such as when reading or listening to others.
  • struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
  • tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work.
  • poor listening skills; hard time remembering conversations and following directions
ADD doesn’t demonstrate a lack of will power, even though it is often associated with other conditions like anxiety or depression, ADD can be a normal issue independent of one’s own personal troubles or lack of self-discipline.  Biochemically, you can pinpoint what may lead a child or a fully grown adult away from his or her responsibilities:
While it’s immediately obvious what kind of effect ADD would have on someone at work, what isn’t so clear to people is it can have a detrimental impact on interpersonal relationships.  The same symptoms you’d associate with a distracted child often creep into adult interactions, be they group conversations or interactions between spouses.
Have you ever known someone who seems never to be hooked into a group convo?  Maybe they even interrupt the conversation at times, rudely changing the subject as if they hadn’t been in the room at all.  In a way, they might not have been.  Their heads may have been somewhere else, in another world, totally unaware of the details on the discussion and events around them.  It’s not at all beyond the realm of possibility this person is worthy of a diagnosis.
The same problem can negatively hit home – literally.  If you’re married or living with a partner, imagine one of those moments your partner asked you to do something and claims you didn’t do it, but you have no recollection of the request or it completely skipped your mind once you heard it.  Now imagine that happening constantly.  That is the situation with a lot of couples, and a diagnosis of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder would open up the possibility of remedying those inattentive moments:

I'm not listening, you can't make me!

Here are some complaints you might want to consider; do you hear them often?:
Not having a partner’s ear is a common complaint.  Even if the communication problem isn’t intentional, it’s a key element to breaking up relationships.  The breakdown in communication can lead to misunderstandings with money, key decisions and feelings within the relationship itself.  It can also impact intimacy.
The treatment for Adult ADD is no different from that for a child.  If it’s impacting your relationship, simply getting the diagnosis can go a long way in alleviating any tension the condition’s caused the connection with a partner or spouse (the other spouse may become instantaneously more forgiving for an ADD-sufferer’s pitfalls).  The medication is also the same: Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, etc.  But it’s also a good idea to see a counselor to iron out any outstanding issue between lovers.  If ADD has caused misunderstandings in the past,
a few sessions with a licensed counselor can help iron out any remaining problems or issues.
If the above symptoms sound familiar, go ask a doctor.  There’s no shame in a diagnosis of ADD and it’s easily remedied.  Many report it marks the beginning of a new stage in life once they’ve started treatment.  How much more so that must be true for couples!

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