ADHD ADVOCATE FAQS
Did you know that a number of celebrities and high achievers have themselves been given a diagnosis of ADHD? Some of them have achieved success in their chosen fields despite their ADHD, whereas others have claimed that their symptoms haveactually contributed to their achievements! Here we look at a few of the public figures who have disclosed their diagnosis to the world and we look at how ADHD has impacted on their lives.
Former Backstreet Boy Justin went public with a diagnosis of both OCD and ADHD in 2009. In an interview with the website collider.com he was quoted as saying “I have OCD, mixed with ADD. You try living with that. It’s complicated”. He described being on stage as an “addiction” for himself. Despite his struggles, Justin has had a hugely successful career in the music and acting industries, notching up multiple Grammy and Emmy wins.
People with ADHD are often described as being suited to entrepreneurism and there is perhaps no better example of this than Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin groupwhich today boasts over 400 different companies. During a TED Talk that Branson gave in 2007, he said that he had “no comprehension of schoolwork whatsoever and would have failed IQ tests”. He left school at the age of 15 claiming that “if I’m not interested in something, I don’t grasp it”. Branson certainly managed to grasp the skill of being an entrepreneur with both hands and now possesses a net worth of over five million dollars.
The founder of the hugely successful US music group, The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am has recently opened up to the media about his diagnosis of ADHD. The singer has chosen not to treat his ADHD using medication and prefers to use skills and strategies to help him cope instead. In a 2018 interview with The Mail on Sunday, he described the condition as a ‘gift’ and was quoted as saying “I’ve learned how to control it. I can talk, look at that person, think about what I am going to do now and what I am going to eat later. I don’t see it as a flaw”.
The saviour of many a mealtime, Jamie Oliver was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a child. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he credits his number one treatment as maintaining a healthy diet. Studies have suggested that food additives may exacerbate ADHD symptoms, and Jamie now takes the time to educate school children with ADHD about the importance of a balanced diet.
Actor and Singer Will Smith was diagnosed as an adult and described himself as “the fun one who had trouble paying attention”. The star of the Men in Black series of films credits his driven nature as a by-product of his ADHD and has previously stated that he ‘couldn’t finish a book, even if he was given two weeks to do so’.
Canadian-Americanfunnyman Jim Carrey is best known for his acting abilities, but has also dabbled in impressions, screenwriting, music, producing and painting during his career. Carrey has admitted to battling depressive disorder for a large part of his life, which can often go hand in hand with an ADHD diagnosis. He described himself as a ‘restless child’, stating that he would ‘finish his work quickly and then start being disruptive’. He has used some of his symptoms to his advantage and is widely accepted to be one of the most energetic comedy actors around.
Recently the subject of a BBC Horizon special – ADHD and Me, the talented impressionist was actually diagnosed whilst filming the programme. Most noticeably, he was offered medication, which he started just minutes before he was due out for on stage, gaining praise for his bravery. In a recent television interview he described his ADHD as ‘mild’ and ‘controllable’, but that he wanted to bring the condition into the public eye for the people that ‘do have problems controlling it’.
The lead singer in the hugely successful American band Maroon 5, Levine has also been another proponent for spreading the message about ADHD. He says that he wasn’t surprised when he was diagnosed with the condition because he experienced ‘big problems with focusing’ at school. He was quoted by Us magazine as saying “when I can’t pay attention, I really can’t pay attention. He admitted that he still had problems when he embarked on his musical career which led him to seek help and eventually receive a diagnosis.
This is just a small sample of a significant group of high achievers with ADHD who thrived because of their ADHD, not in spite of it…