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Educating Your Partner and Family Members About ADHD

Updated on January 28, 2015

Steps in Educating Partner and Family About ADHD/ADD

Whether those you love are aware of the effects of ADHD and are open to learning and trying to understand you, or if you are working to get through to individuals about your disorder, it can sometimes be difficult. In this article, I hope to help you solve some of the hurdles in reaching out.

Step 1 Getting the diagnosis

If you are an undiagnosed adult with ADHD, getting a real diagnosis can be vital to your case in many circumstances. Sometimes a genuine diagnosis is all it will take to get those you love involved in education. They can accept your disabilities much better. Such is the case more often than not. In order to find a reputable doctor to diagnose you, look for people who have been formally diagnosed, if you can. If not, look online for someone nearest you.

A suggestion, As you are working on getting the diagnosis, make sure anyone you wish to educate, see how complicated the process can be. This will reassure them that this is not some fly by night diagnosis. Nor did you run to the local general practitioner and diagnose yourself. Share the questionnaire with them. Get them involved. They may go, "hey, this is true. You have done these things." or "Wow. Such and such had these same problems. I wonder if they had undiagnosed ADHD?" You never know, you might just help those you love to see a link to others in your past that had this disorder. It will often change the way they view them and how they treat you. Hopefully in a positive way.

As an Undiagnosed ADHD Adult

If you prefer to remain undiagnosed, it may be a little harder to get your loved ones on board. So, be willing to accept the fact that they may never come around on a grand scale. It's typically found that when you don't have a definite diagnosis, your loved ones tend to be wishy washy in there acceptance. They will often accept what they want to and leave the rest.

Again if this is your choice, educate yourself. Share traits that you have in common with family members. Share online videos with them, that corroborate your opinion as to why you believe you have this disorder. Good Luck.

ADHD Diagnosis: Avoidance or Just a Bad Personality?

Step 2 Diagnosed or Undiagnosed

Once you have the diagnosis, you pretty much have the right to say, "See, I have always been different and I knew it!" It will give you more solid ground to stand on.

At this time, you will be bulking up on your knowledge of ADHD and learning how it is affecting you, since, it affects everyone differently. Many things will become issues. You will also be having to deal with these facts personally as you are trying to educate those around you. This can become frustrating and depressing. You will most likely be going through your own self-discovery. If you have someone to share this with, it will be that much easier to cope with. Just make sure that someone is the right someone.

Once you open this up to family and/or a spouse, you may encounter their fears. It's entirely possible that you may run into the fact, they feel robbed. Here, they thought they were with a perfectly great person, if a little weird, to now finding out they are married to someone with a mental disability. People tend to accept things many different ways. If this should happen, you might want to seek counseling as a couple. When seeking counseling, make sure you are dealing with someone who understands ADHD. Not just any counselor will do. It's also important for the spouse to understand that these are just challenges and they can be met head-on, with few interruptions. As a matter of fact, now that you know for certain what you are up against, life can in fact improve. 

Family Awareness

Adults With ADHD: What Do We Know? What Do They Need?

Step 3 How to Share the Information You Learn

Sharing what you learn can be done in many ways. Not all of them will be received with the same level of interest.

The most important person to share with to start out, most likely would be the person that was most accepting of your diagnosis. This way, they can often provide an ear and some emotional support when its needed. Having at least one person with whom you can talk, will often help you to make great progress. Many times, the Cognitive Behavioral Techniques, used in treating ADHD are what is called talk therapy. Talking about your ADHD with someone willing to listen can often help more than others.

Sharing with a spouse:

When sharing with a spouse, it will be up to you what you think is the most important thing to share first. No one can tell you what your partner will want to know or not want to know. The basics first. Share what ADHD really is.

I am putting links to videos that you may find to be of some help. Share these videos with your spouse and family.

Problems Getting Spouse or Family to Listen

If you are having problems getting family to listen, you are not alone. Many who have recently been diagnosed with ADHD will suffer due to the constant bombardment of over diagnosed and misunderstood concepts of what ADHD is.

ADHD is under fire. For those of us who truly have ADHD, its' a constant battle to correctly educate those around us. Many still believe that ADHD is strictly for children. However, we know that is not true. It may not be as complicated to get them to understand, that you have had it all your life, and that you did not grow out of it. It might be easier to bring into perspective, certain characteristics in your past childhood that would point directly to ADHD.

First things first. Plan for a time to sit down and talk about your new diagnosis of ADHD. Have information that you might need, available for reference. How ever you feel comfortable addressing this issue is okay. Just make sure that when you sit down to talk, that you have a good points. Don't make it sound like a joke. Talk about some areas that you have noticed that ADHD directly affects your life. Talk about ways to manage those or talk about getting help managing them.

 It might be necessary to ease those around you into learning. Teach them without teaching them. While they are in the room, let an ADHD video from above play. Just loud enough for them to hear but not loud enough to disturb. Do this on a regular basis. Get books about the disorder and read them while your family is around. There are several that are very good starts. You can indirectly teach them as you learn. Always make sure they are subject to positive education about your disorder. It's important that they hear important view points on ADHD. 

If family and loved ones seem to refuse to listen, it will be important for you to learn and do the work yourself. You will have to do the best you can to learn to manage your ADHD. You can do it alone. You really don't need family support, it would just make things much easier. 


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