How Does ADHD Impact Relationships?

Most of us associate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with children. But this neuropsychiatric condition affects people of all ages, including adults. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 4.4% of adults ages 18-44 have ADHD. However, even though this neurological disorder is present from birth, it may not get noticed until adulthood, and it may not get diagnosed at all.

Common symptoms of ADHD include:

At Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston, our compassionate team can help diagnose ADHD and provide you with tools to build healthier, happier relationships in your life. 

An overview of ADHD and relationships

ADHD symptoms can lead to frustration, misunderstandings, and resentment, especially in relationships with those you care for the most. And this is a two-way street.

When you have ADHD, it’s common to feel constantly judged, disrespected, and as if nothing you do pleases others. You can even feel micromanaged as if others are trying to control every aspect of your life. 

For those in a relationship with someone who has ADHD, it can be easy to feel ignored, unappreciated, and lonely. Many in this situation can feel as though they carry the burden of being the only responsible person in the relationship and that the person with ADHD doesn’t care. 

When ignored, these feelings can spiral out of control and jeopardize the health and happiness of the relationship. Fortunately, by gaining a better understanding of how ADHD symptoms can influence person-to-person interactions, you can find new ways to work together to benefit both sides.

How ADHD symptoms affect relationships

The first step to transforming your relationships involves understanding how ADHD symptoms can affect your relationships. 


If you have problems paying attention, it can leave others feeling undervalued and ignored. It can also cause you to agree to something you don’t remember later or miss details that mean a lot to the other person.


The impulsive aspect of ADHD can cause several problems in relationships, ranging from saying things without thinking to reckless behavior, such as buying expensive items. These types of behaviors can lead to hurt feelings and arguments.

Poor organization and planning

If you have difficulty completing tasks, others can feel as if they’re shouldering more of the responsibilities. Having to continually remind you of important duties can leave them frustrated, exhausted, and alone. 

Emotional outbursts

If you have ADHD, you may find it difficult to control your emotions. Unfortunately, emotional outbursts can lead to arguments and hurt feelings. This can leave others feeling as if they have to tiptoe around you or avoid issues altogether to avoid blowups.

How to build stronger relationships

Fortunately, ADHD often comes with strengths that can benefit relationships, including:

All of these aspects play a vital role in building lasting, healthy relationships. As part of your treatment, we can bring out your positive traits and incorporate them into your plan to manage your condition.

Our team can also design a treatment strategy to help you learn to manage your condition by identifying the triggers and behaviors that may worsen your symptoms. With this comprehensive approach, we can help you overcome the challenges in your life and help you develop strong relationships.

To learn more about ADHD or to get an evaluation, book an appointment online or over the phone with Compass Mental Health & Wellness today.

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