Adults with attention disorders often learn coping skills to help them stay organized and focused at work, but experts say many of them struggle at home, where their tendency to become distracted is a constant source of conflict. Behavioral therapy and coping strategies - for both partners - are essential; for instance, Ms. Orlov would banish long to-do lists in favor of recipe cards that each contain a single task, sorted in order of priority.
Copyright New York Times Company Jul 20, 2010
Does your husband or wife constantly forget chores and lose track of the calendar? Do you sometimes feel that instead of living with a spouse, you're raising another child?
Your marriage may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
An A.D.H.D. marriage? It may sound like a punch line, but the idea that attention problems can take a toll on adult relationships is getting more attention from mental health experts. In a marriage, the common symptoms of the disorder - distraction, disorganization, forgetfulness - can easily be misinterpreted as laziness, selfishness and a lack of love and concern.
Experts suggest that at least 4 percent of adults suffer from the disorder; that as many as half of all children with A.D.H.D. do not fully outgrow it and continue to struggle with symptoms as adults; and that many adults with the disorder never got the diagnosis as children.
Adults with attention disorders often learn coping skills to help them stay organized and focused at work, but experts say many of them struggle at home, where their tendency to become distracted is a constant source of conflict. Some research suggests that these adults are twice as likely to be divorced; another study found high levels of distress in 60 percent of marriages where one spouse has the disorder.
"Typically people don't realize the A.D.H.D. is impacting their marriage because there's been no talk about this at all," said Melissa Orlov, author of the new book...