Why is my ADHD husband so short tempered and angry? — (ADHD and Marriage)

SSRI Ed note: Woman writes in wanting to know how to deal with her husband who is taking concerta, prozac, + a road rage drug and is irritable, angry, difficult. (surprise!)

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ADHD and Marriage

Melissa Orlov & Dr. Ned Hallowell

We’ve been married over a year. We really do love each other, I swear.  But lately, I’m concerned about how he treats me. He is responsibly addressing his ADHD (I guess) by seeing a doctor.  He takes concerta, prozac, and some other drug (recently) for road rage. (I can’t believe there even IS such a drug!)

He is responsible, intellegent and functional. But he seems to lack some “emotional intellegence or compassion.” Lately, he is sharp, sarcastic, short-tempered, and basically not pleasant to be around at all. The smallest thing sets him off and he often over-reacts to life’s small frustrations. Oh, and he is ALWAYS right.

I’m a very strong woman, and his words do not affect how I feel about myself in general. But if I were not strongly grounded, I think I would be well on my way to a low self esteem -because of the way he speaks to me and treats me sometimes. He has explained that is a symptom of his “ADHD” but I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this.

Sometimes it’s embarrassing to be around other people. If friends were to witness our interaction at the wrong time, it would appear that he is a macho, cocky, know-it-all husband and I am the submissive, weaker, wife. (Which is NOT the case at all because I would never put myself in relationship like that…or at least that’s what I’ve always thought.)

I’m almost to the point where I’ll go out of my way to avoid him. But it’s kind of hard since we live together. I’m not a nag. I give him plenty of space. If he were my boyfriend, I’d probably arrange a strategy to avoid him for several days so he could appreciate me more when we got together.

We have had conversations about this. He has explained that he is unaware of his tone and delivery and blames it on his ADHD. But I’m tired of bringing it to his attention.

I really care for him and love him. He frequently assures me that he loves me too. Despite his time-bomb shortness, there is much love and respect in our relationship.

It makes me sad to see him living with so much anger. I try very very hard not to take it personally and consider his illness. How much of this anger is related to personality? medication? ADHD?



Hi AJ,

When I read your blog I couldn’t believe how much your husband sounds like mine.  We have been married for 19 years.  I am also a very strong woman and have become very independent because of my husbands ADHD.  The thing is, lately I have considered leaving.  I am tired of coming home from work and wanting to relax in my own home and being greated by an angry tirant!

It sounds like you love him alot; that will help you in the long haul. It is good that he has been diagnosed and getting treatment.  Mine has not been diagnosed and is very resistant to the thought that he may be ADHD.

I guess the difference between us is that you are just beginning your marriage and both of you realise what the disability in your marriage is.  I have built up a lot of resentment, hurt and sadness over the past 19 years that has left me ready to throw in the towel.  I wish I could have started out like you…knowing what was going on.

The anger issues are wearing on me.  I am tired of fighting and I feel like being alone is a better choice if he won’t take responsibility.

Sorry for the rant.  Keep positive and keep focused on the fact that it is his disability, not you.  You are a strong, supportive wife and he is VERY lucky to have you.