Adult ADHD Support
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Adult ADHD and my wife

My wife just turned 44 and recently has made comments about wishing she never had kids, which we have 8 yr old 5 yr old boys. Out oldest has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. To seem them around each other and watch interactions they are just a like. Recently she thinks shes gone undiagnosed all these years since childhood. What signs or symptoms are there to look for in adults?

Thank you

7 Replies

Heredity is definitely a major factor in ADHD; and ODD is an common comorbidity—might even be a product of ADHD and environment, as the activation problems that come with ADHD, if perceived as defiance, are easily reinforced into actual defiance.


Sorry for not providing a more useful response, earlier: it took a while for the rest to break through the chaos in my present surroundings.

Except for restlessness being internalized rather than externalized in hyperactive or combined type, symptoms aren't so much different from those in children: it's mostly context and consequences that change—often dramatically.

For example, kids don't have much opportunity to engage in destructive levels of impulse buying, and adults don't get into many playground incidents.

One of the most common complaints of adults is what we now call “rejection sensitive dysphoria”. Kids feel it too, but most aren't taught sophisticated verbalization of their feelings, so it went largely unnoticed when all the focus of describing the condition was on children.


Hi Eric2575. I couldn't have put it better than HadEnuf! ADHD is HIGHLY heritable, so it is likely your wife has it. ADHD is strongly linked to Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, and this takes some management. And you know what? Many people with adult ADHD only discover this because their kids get diagnosed! Parenting is a tough job even without ADHD, and although I have two adult sons who I love dearly, I have shared your wife's sentiments from time to time. And neither my sons nor I have ADHD! But my husband does, and I see how huge his struggle was for the 12 years before he was diagnosed at age 49. So I'd really encourage you and your wife to explore this further. With support from you and professionals, things could really change for the better. Best of luck to you. :)


i have never been officially diagnosed, but now that i have a son (12) that has had to struggle with ADHD since 5, i see sooo many of the same traits in me as him. i do take medication to slow me down a bit. i got sick of everyone telling me to "slowww dowwwwn" but it has also helped me in other ways, anxiety and irritability. i often stress about the fact i give my son the meds, but i also remember struggling in school like no other! so i tell myself i am helping HIM feel better in his head. and with that said, your wife would probably feel better in her head if she got medication or even if she just talked to a professional. also helps to have a great hubby that sees she is struggling :) but i have two boys, 12 and 10 and when they were small i told myself i didn't want them to remember me as the mom that screamed at them all the time :( and i can truly tell you... if i didn't have my meds, i would be!! good luck to you both!!


hi Eric! When my son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5, at first my husband was not on board. Through the years he came to realize he also has ADHD although our son's is much more pronounced. It has been a long rough road for us, for me personally I did see a therapist for a while to help me deal with the stress and negativity I was feeling during the time when my husband was not on board and I alone was managing and advocating for my son. It helped.

I also have been a member of CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD) for many years - lots of good resources can be found with that organization. Highly recommend.

Good luck to you.


Symptoms: easily distracted, SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL unable to follow through/consistent procrastination, don't see things right in front of you - like the footstool you used in the kitchen and left there for 3 days, constantly losing things or forgetting things, easily frustrated, blurting out inappropriate comments, interrupting other people when they're talking, "failure to thrive" everybody sees your potential but you just can't seem to get off the dime no matter how hard you work at it, irritable, very sensitive to how people react to you yet can be totally unaware of others and your impact on them, forgetting important dates like birthdays, Seems bewildered in group gatherings or doesn't understand why others react the way they do; unaware of social "rules".

you try things and they work - for awhile - and for seemingly no reason you stop doing what was working and your routine unravels all over again. Repeating the same mistakes over and over without learning from the experience because you secretly have NO IDEA what went wrong in the first place. Finding your coffee creamer in the cupboard instead of the fridge when you come home from work. Car accidents, (big or small) prone to breaking things by accident, bumping into people and things alot, blissfully unaware of how you always leave a trail of belongings behind you wherever you go.

inattentive; daydreamer, mind never on what you're doing right NOW. easily overwhelmed by normal everyday adult responsibilities, avoid situations due to emotional and/or mental overwhelm. consistently inconsistent.

ALSO: Highly creative, imaginative, quirky sense of humor, intelligent, curious, complicated, problem solver, resilient, innovative, fun to be around, insightful,

Most of all - you just know something is "off" - you see this person who is so smart and capable and yet..... their behavior, results and thinking just don't add up and are mystifying to you -- and HER. Like, inside you're thinking ?WHAT? Why would she do it that way?? Why didn't she just .....(fill in with logical thinking), it would have been so much simpler...

I am so glad your wife found someone who has chosen to support her by finding answers and strategies. Your compassion and patience will make all the difference in the world to her. Medication has literally saved my life. So has cognitive behavioral therapy. Best of luck.


That was a great read Eric, thanks. I find myself in nearly all the situations you described, not been dignoized yet, but am having tests at moment. Xx


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