It's ADHD Awareness Week! Celebrities speak out about their ADHD

Merely Me Health Guide
  • In case you were not aware, ADHD Awareness Week (September 14-20) is happening right now as we speak.  One purpose of such a promotional campaign is to let the public know more about this disorder in hopes that more children might be diagnosed and treated at an earlier age. The other hope is that as more people find out about ADHD, the less this disorder will be stigmatized by the general population. Through such efforts towards awareness, people with ADHD may come to realize that there is hope and that they are certainly not alone in dealing with this disorder. 


    In fact there are many more children being diagnosed with ADHD than ever before. ADDitude Magazine cites a statistic from the March issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine saying that: "...  AD/HD affects up to 7.5 percent of school-aged children. The National Institute of Health, using information from previous studies, had estimated the number of children with AD/HD to be between 3% - 5% of the population."

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    These children will grow up to be adults, many of whom will still be dealing with the issues of ADHD.  Although ADHD is often considered a child's disorder it affects many adults as well.  And some of these adults are well known celebrities.  Our Eileen Bailey has provided us with a list of some of the famous folk who have ADHD including the likes of former Pittsburgh Steeler Terry Bradshaw, Ty Pennington from the show, "Extreme Makeover, Home Edition", and Woody Harrelson from the TV show Cheers.


    Other celebrities to openly discuss their ADHD include Karina Smirnoff, who you probably know from ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."  Smirnoff shares her story of finding out about her ADHD on the official site for Vyvanse (an ADHD medication). 


    Smirnoff tells how she discovered she had ADHD:  "I'm an adult with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I learned that the inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that affected me as a child and into adulthood were, in fact, symptoms of ADHD."


    Howie Mandell is another famous person who speaks candidly about having ADHD.  You probably know Howie Mandell from the popular game show, "Deal or No Deal" or when he was a standup comedian sporting a purse which looked like a hand because it was a "handbag."  Last year Howie Mandell was part of a national campaign to give hope to other ADHDers.  This was his message:


    "When I was in high school, my impulsivity led me to all kinds of acts
    and pranks. I had trouble sitting still and could hardly focus or pay
    attention in class. It wasn't until I was an adult that I was diagnosed
    with ADHD," said Howie. "I'm involved in the Adult ADHD Is Real campaign
    because I want adults to know that it's never too late to seek help for
    ADHD. I hope that sharing my story encourages people to seek help. I didn't
    let ADHD prevent me from achieving my goals and neither should anyone


    Michael Phelps, the Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer, is another ADHD success story. His mother is an advocate for not only her son but for others who are dealing with ADHD.  In a Time On-line article  she talks honestly about what teachers had predicted for her son: 


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    "In kindergarten I was told by his teacher, ‘Michael can't sit still, Michael can't be quiet, Michael can't focus.'  I said, maybe he's bored.  The teacher said that was impossible. "He's not gifted," came back the reply. "Your son will never be able to focus on anything."   


    It is clear that this teacher was wrong. 


    I am betting that a lot of children and adults are told similar things following their diagnosis of ADHD.  Yet the truth of the matter is that there is hope for a bright future.  Don't let anyone take away your dreams just because you have this diagnosis.  As you can see, there are many people, famous or not, who go on to lead productive and happy lives despite having ADHD.  And you or your child can too.


    Whether you are an adult who has ADHD, or a parent of a child who has this disorder, ADHD Central can be of help and support to you.  Let me just highlight some links which can give you both information and guidance to cope with this diagnosis. 


    If you feel you or your child may have some of the signs of having ADHD but you just aren't sure then please take a look at our SYMPTOMS page to find out more information.   


    If you would like some tips about what to do after your child is diagnosed with ADHD please follow this link for guidance.   


    The treatment for ADHD is usually a combination of medication and behavior management. To find out more about the different ADHD medications please follow this link.   And here is where you may find information about behavioral techniques.   


    If you have a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD here are some parenting tips.  


    Adults who have ADHD can find information and guidance geared for adults right here


    Remember that if you or your child has been diagnosed with ADHD that this label does not foretell the future.  Nobody has a crystal ball so please don't listen to the people who tell you what you can and cannot do.   Please feel free to use our site to gain both information and support for what you are going through.  And know that you are not alone in this!


Published On: September 17, 2009