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What are the effects of alcohol and marijuana on ADHD men?
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What are the effects of alcohol and marijuana on ADHD men?

My 50 year old husband was diagnosed with mild ADHD as a child.  He was fortunate enough to overcome some of these, although as an adult he continues to display a number of symptoms. He does not receive treatment or medication - it is not enough to seriously disrupt his life anymore with proper communication and self management - in fact he has managed to use them quite beneficially. He is a successful scientist, very fit and active in adventure sport, sociable, and is a mostly a wonderful husband.  he is mostly popular and is a good conversationalist.  The negative sides of his behaviour are extreme messiness, procrastination, hyperactivity, irritability on occasion, etc. but nothing to seriously worry about.  we manage it together and i take on the tasks that he battles with such as cooking and keeping the house clean.

Unfortunately this is not manageable when he drinks alcohol or smokes marijuana (both of which he does almost daily).  After as little as one or two drinks he will become very argumentative.  his speech becomes affected quickly and he is very domineering in conversation.  he becomes irritable with others and even quite whining.  I do not fear him physically but i have to say that i am quite wary of him and try and avoid his company - it's unpleasant.  the smallest issue triggers him and he doesn't allow anyone else to get a word in.  if they do, he is intolerant towards viewpoints contrary to his.  i am very worried about this as he hotly denies it and seems to think that our friends enjoy him and find him a "happy drunk".  he is certainly not aware that the issue occurs after just one or two drinks.

Strangely his behaviour becomes opposite after smoking marijuana.  He becomes restless, annoying, interrupts conversations, forgets what he is saying, dominates others and shows very very pronounced ADD symptoms.  He constantly loses things, his mental processes become incredibly jumbled.  He is very talkative and doesn't respect social boundaries.  it's almost like he is on speed, not marijuana.

The sad thing is that he absolutley refuses to acknowledge this either and seems to believe that his nature is exactly the same or even improves with marijuana.  he smokes daily too and once again a very small amount seems to affect him.

I am not against either alcohol or marijuana.  I just wanted to know whether ADHD sufferers can be affected in this way or if there is any information i can read to explain ADD/substance abuse.  I am concerned that he cannot see how detrimental this is to him and of course our relationship is really suffering as a result.  It is very difficult for me to handle but if i discuss the issue he becomes angry and openly says that i am the only person that knows him that thinks this and implies that it is my issue not his or anyone else.

I would love to know what the effects of these substances are on a hyperactive ADHD.
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Both of these substances, alchohol and marijuana, effect the same three basic subsets of brain chemicals, although in different portions and at different sites in the brain. You might search and research more details, but the bottom line is that these do effect brain functioning, and if you have a person who compensates for add very well while fully conscious, but then deteriorates with a little change, you have the picture you need to understand what is happening.  But that is not the problem.  The problem is getting your husband some help.

You may have to press your friends into action so they confront him rather than you.  If enough do that when he is not drinking, he may get some help for whatever is brewing below the surface.
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You husband is abusing and exhibit adverse reaction to alcohol and marijuana. He has to see a psychiatrist for substance abuse in ADHD. The problem is he has limited insight. Try to persuade him to see a psychiatrist by a number of significant figures that he trusts most.
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