Dr. Oz Show: Is ADHD Ruining Your Marriage?
In a recent episode of the Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz brings to his viewers the topic of undiagnosed adult male ADHD and its effect on marriages. According to statistics, up to 75% of men with ADHD go undiagnosed, which leads to miscommunication and havoc that can ruin a marriage. Learn the key warning signs Dr. Oz offers of adult male ADHD, and two tips on how you can help improve your spouse's focus.
Dr. Oz begins with explaining how that ADHD affects not only children, but adults too. And, that when an adult has ADHD and is in a marriage, it can make his partner feel as if she is in a tailspin. He asks, do you feel that your partner never listens to you? Are you constantly nagging at him to do the simplest of tasks? Do you feel like that instead of living with a mate, that you feel as if you are raising another child? If so, then he may be among the millions of men who are undiagnosed with ADHD.
According to Dr. Oz, eight million adults suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a medical condition that causes inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
In his show, Dr. Oz has a special guest, Dr. Edward Hallowell, MD who as an adult was diagnosed with ADHD. He and his wife - Sue, a couple’s therapist - describe how that before the diagnosis, the two of them had different views of what their relationship was like and how much strain it placed on their marriage.
According to their story, Dr. Hallowell was oblivious to many aspects such as parenting their children, which his wife felt placed a heavy burden on her shoulders to be the one to bring organization to the family. She stated that is was she who had to make sure that their kids were eating when they were supposed to and that their homework got done. “There were moments I was pretty frustrated and I wondered how I was going to get through another day,” she admitted.
“ADHD undiagnosed ruins marriages,” says Dr. Hallowell. “But, when ADHD is diagnosed, you see marriages saved - brought back from the brink of destruction.”
Since his diagnosis of ADHD, Dr. Hallowell has dedicated his career toward the problem of adult ADHD and how it affects marriages. “I discovered that the struggle [of ADHD] can be turned into a victory and I wanted other people to know that this need not be a marriage breaker, a career breaker,” he says. “That in fact, if you get the right help, you can turn it around totally and become a winner - victorious not only at work, but in your marriage as well.” Dr. Hallowell is the author of a book titled “Married to Distraction” that deals with the problems couples face when one of them has ADHD.
When an audience member describes how that her partner doesn’t appear to be listening to her sometimes when she is facing him and that he is driving her crazy with it, Dr. Hallowell tells her that you have to remember to not take it personally. That the ADHD mind is like a toddler on a picnic—it goes wherever curiosity leads it. He states further that, “If there’s one message I can get out to folks listening is that it’s not that he doesn’t love you, it’s the way his brain is wired.”
To show that the ADHD brain is wired unlike that of a normal brain, Dr. Oz showed images from an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine that illustrates neural differences between someone with ADHD and someone without ADHD. Images comparing a normal brain with an ADHD-affected brain illustrated a normal brain lit up like a neon sign with activity, whereas the ADHD brain is significantly lacking in neuronal activity—indicating that the two brains are processing information differently.
To help others determine whether their spouse may have undiagnosed ADHD, Dr. Oz offers four warning signs to watch out for.
Warning sign #1: Your partner is easily distracted. Is he trying to do several things at once, but cannot stay focused on one single task?
Warning sign #2: Your partner is disorganized. Are clothes left lying about on the floor all the time? Does he have trouble locating his car keys?
Warning sign #3: Your partner has poor time management. Is he never on time for an appointment? Is he a procrastinator who tries to cram everything in the last 5 minutes?
Warning sign #4: Your partner is unreliable. Do you ask him to pick up eggs at the store and he comes back with pretzels? Does he forget to meet you at a school PTA meeting?
Dr. Oz points out that just because someone has one of these symptoms, it does not mean that he has ADHD. When asking Dr. Hallowell how someone can differentiate whether a partner has ADHD or not, Dr. Hallowell said, “It’s a matter of intensity and duration of these symptoms, which last over a lifetime,” and he offers two things you can do to help your partner focus—whether he has ADHD or not:
Tip #1: Try to communicate differently, not harder. Do this by offering to help with suggestions rather than by hounding and pounding your message to your partner.
Tip #2: Set up structure. Give him a list, but with no more than three items on it at a time. And, be sure to place the list where he can see it.
If you suspect that your partner may have ADHD, Dr. Hallowell says that they need to be evaluated by someone who understands and deals with ADHD patients.
If diagnosed with ADHD, your partner may or may not have to take medications for it. Dr. Hallowell says that medications for treating ADHD do not always work with all sufferers of ADHD. “But don’t be afraid of meds,” he says. “When they are used properly they are among the safest medications we’ve got. They’re very effective.” Dr. Hallowell says that his three children have been diagnosed with ADHD, take medication for it, and are all doing very well.