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Welcome to the March ADHD ezine.
This month our theme is coping successfully as an ADHD young adult, adult or couple.
We have suggestions for you from expert doctors
and have asked successful ADHD adults how they got through the study required
to become successful in their careers.
This may provide you with the inspiration to do the same.
ON ADD IN COUPLES
by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D.
In couples the symptoms of Attention Deficit
Disorder (ADD) can be particularly
vexing. The distractibility, impulsivity, and excess energy associated with the
syndrome can perturb intimate relationships in ways that leave each partner
exhausted, angry, hurt, and misunderstood. This is doubly unfortunate because
two people suffer. However, if the situation can be subtly regulated, the ADD
couple can find satisfaction commensurate with the high energy the couple
The following guidelines or "tips" might
be helpful in settling the chaos that is so
often present in the ADD relationship and moving on towards a satisfying
mutual relationship of love and understanding.
1. Make sure you have an accurate diagnosis.
There are many things that look
like ADD, from too much coffee to anxiety states to dissociative disorders to
hyperthyroidism. Before embarking on a treatment of ADD consult with your
physician to make sure what you have is really ADD and not something else.
2. Once you are sure of the diagnosis, learn
as much as you can about ADD.
There is an increasing body of literature out on the topic. The more you and
your mate know, the better you will be able to help each other. The first step in
the treatment of ADD--whether it be in a couple or elsewhere--is education.
3. Declare a truce. After you have made the
diagnosis and have done some
reading, take a deep breath and wave the white flag. You both need some
breathing space to begin to get your relationship on new footing.
4. Set up a time for talking. You will need
some time to talk to each other about
ADD--what it is, how it affects your relationship, what each of you wants to do
about it, what feelings you have about it. Don't do this on the run, i.e., during TV
commercials, while drying dishes, in between telephone calls, etc. Set up
some time. Reserve it for yourselves.
5. Spill the beans. Tell each other what
is on your mind. ADD shows up in
different ways in different couples. Tell each other how it is showing up between
you. Tell each other just how you are being driven crazy, what you like, what
you want to change, what you want to preserve. Get it all out on the table. Try
not to react until all the beans have been spilled.
6. Write down your complaints and your commendations.
It is good to have it in
writing what you want to change and what you want to preserve. Otherwise
7. Make a treatment plan. Brainstorm with
each other as to how to reach your
goals. You may want some professional help with this phase, but it is a good
idea to try starting it on your own.
8. Add structure to your relationship.
10. Bulletin boards.
11. Notepads in strategic places like by bed, in car, in bathroom and kitchen.
12. Write down what you want the other person
to do and give it to him in the
form of a list every day.
13. Keep a master appointment book for both
of you. Make sure each of you
checks it every day.
14. Avoid the pattern of mess-maker and cleaner-upper.
You don't want the
non-ADD partner to "enable" the ADD partner. Rather set up strategies to break
15. Avoid the pattern of pesterer and tuner-outer.
You don't want the non-ADD
partner to be forever nagging and kvetching at the ADD partner to pay attention,
get his act together, come out from behind the newspaper, etc.
16. Avoid the pattern of the victim and the
victimizer. You don't want the ADD
partner to present himself as a helpless victim left at the merciless hands of the
all-controlling non-ADD mate.
17. Avoid the pattern of master and slave.
Akin to #16. However, in a funny way
it can often be the non-ADD partner who feels like the slave to her or his mate's
18. Avoid the pattern of sado-masochistic
struggle as a routine way of
interacting. Prior to diagnosis and intervention, many ADD couples spent most
of their time attacking and counter-attacking each other. The idea is to try to
get past that and into the realm of problem solving. What you have to beware of
is the covert pleasure that can be found in the struggle.
19. In general, watch out for the dynamics
of control, dominance and
submission, that lurk in the background of most relationships, let alone ADD
relationships. Try to get as clear on this as possible, so that you can work
toward cooperation, rather than competitive- struggle.
20. Break the tapes of negativity. Many ADD
couples have Iong ago taken on a
resigned attitude of the there's-no-hope-for-us.
21. Use praise freely. Encouragement, too. Begin to play positive tapes.
22. Learn about mood management.
Anticipation is a great way to help
anyone, and especially someone with ADD, deal with the highs and lows that
23. Let the one who is better organized
take on the job of organization.
However, this job must then be adequately appreciated, noticed, and
24. Make time for each other.
If the only way you can do this is by scheduling
it, then schedule it. This is imperative! Clean communication, the expression
of affection, the taking up of problems, playing together and having fun--all these
ingredients of a good relationship cannot occur unless you spend time
23. Don't use ADD as an excuse.
Each member of the couple has to take
responsibility for his or her actions. Don't blame it on ADD. On the other hand,
while one mustn't use ADD as an excuse, knowledge of the syndrome can add
immeasurably to the understanding one brings to the relationship.
material is made available, courtesy of the authors and ADDult Support
of Washington for Adults with ADD, a non-profit organization based in Tacoma,
whose purpose is to educate adults and the professionals who treat them
about Attention Deficit Disorder. We have numerous materials as well as
a quarterly newsletter for sale. Our address is: ASW, PO Box 7804,
Tacoma, WA. 98407-0804. Msg. Tel. 253-759-5085, e-mail:mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
and web site: www.ADDult.org."
to Distraction : Recognizing and Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder
from Childhood Through Adulthood
The reviewer said,"As an adult with ADD (which I found out by reading Driven to Distraction), I can honestly say that this book changed my life. It altered my entire self perception.
Now, instead of seeing myself as a lazy, disorganized,
half-crazy person, I understand that I have a common condition with negative
- and positive - traits. I also understand clearly why I failed so miserably
in school and no longer blame myself for it. Even just the knowledge that
there are other people with the same syndrome, the same behaviors... is
The back cover of this video says," Do the words "What if...?" creep into your inner dialogue a little too often? Does a news report about cancer, airplane safety or Mad Cow Disease haunt you for hours afterward? Are you filled with nagging doubts that just won't go away? Then you may have a bad case of Toxic Worry.
Besides being just plain annoying, it could seriously affect your health. But don't fret--Dr. Edward Hallowell offers a simple solution to getting your fears under control."
The reviewer says,"Again, Drs. Hallowell and Ratey provide ADDers with another essential tool in dealing with their disability. Those who have ADD really should have this book and Driven to Distraction if they haven't it. Even if I reread the book, it continues to provide me with and remind me of helpful principles in living as an ADDer. One thing the books have taught me: ADDers are normal! We are trapped in a structure-trapped, overformalistic world that causes us to be distracted, yet has little
tolerance for it. Yet the ADDer can survive - successfully. Thanks again to Drs. Hallowell and Ratey for such a relevant and helpful book - their books in fact! "
- The Power of Human Relationships (1999)
This is a video, exploring relationship building.
|Add and Romance : Finding Fulfillment in Love, Sex, & Relationships Jonathan Halverstadt reaches deep to address a very difficult subject. Following an overview of how ADD plays out in relationships, he quickly moves to areas we often prefer to not think about: How can someone with ADD possibly be responsible and accountable in their relationships. Using many examples to address these issues in sensitive and practical terms from the ADD and non-ADD partner perspective, he covers many strategies that range from medication to therapy to practical hints. Most valuable is his understanding of what it takes to turn a relationship around and make it thrive! click here to order|
Can you help Tina find an ADHD seminar?
Her email asks,"
We are living overseas, Kuwait to be exact.I am planning a home leave trip to the States this summer (mid-June, July,
mid-August) to North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham & Charlotte areas) also Michigan (very close to the Chicago area). I have read Mary Ann Block's book, "No More Ritalin" and would love to attend her "Four-Day Comprehensive ADHD Outpatient Protocol Involving Physician, Parent, and Patient". However, for logistics sake I was wondering if you knew of
similiar programs for the areas I will be visiting.
Sincerely, Tina Broome email@example.com
If you can offer her some ideas please email her direct by clicking here.
is the book Tina is talking about " No More Ritalin : Treating Adhd Without
by Mary Ann Block
Click on here for more information on the book that has impressed her and others so much.
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