"I didn't let ADHD prevent me from achieving my goals and neither should anyone else." Howie Mandel is the host of "Deal or No Deal" on television and is also the spokesperson for the Adult ADHD is Real Campaign. When I recently spoke with him he said after he had spoken out about his own ADHD, he was contacted by the campaign and he agreed with the message and wanted to be involved.
"ADHD is real," says Howie Mandel, "It isn't just for hyperactive kids. When people can identify their own ADHD symptoms and get help, their lives can improve." This is what Howie hopes to convey to others.
Howie struggled throughout his school years. When he looks back the impulsiveness is probably what stands out more than anything. Once, during a high school lunch period, he began calling contactors and requesting bids for an addition to the school library. Contractors began showing up and measuring the school grounds to prepare for the bidding process. When the principal of the school questioned them, asking what they were doing and why, they replied that "Howie Mandel" had requested a bid.
Today, Howie can look back and recall many other funny stories about impulsive acts and pranks that occurred throughout his childhood. Now, anyway, they are funny and can be used in his comedy, but at the time, they weren't funny, they were behavior problems that he now regrets and eventually they led to him being kicked out of school.
Howie wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until he was an adult. Howie admits he has a great life. He has been married for 30 years, has three children and a successful career as a comedian, actor and host of the game show "Deal or No Deal." Even so, Howie encourages everyone that may think ADHD might be an issue to find out more about it and discover if it could be an issue in their life.
Howie would love to trade in his ADHD, to live without the symptoms of impulsiveness and inattention, but obviously, he can't. Instead, he says, he must take advantage of the many tools and programs that are available to help adults with ADHD.
I asked Howie if he had a message for all of the readers and members here at ADHDCentral.com:
"You are not alone. The Mental Health community is constantly having breakthroughs. Today there are amazing new treatments, programs and tools to help you cope, such as therapy, medication, and exercises. " Howie goes on to say that identifying ADHD is the first step. Taking advantage of the tools available is the next step. Howie didn't let symptoms of ADHD interfere with his life and "neither should you."
This November (2009), Howie has a book coming out. Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me, is Howie's memoir and talks about coping with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and ADHD. In the book, Howie talks about how he used his fears and neuroses in his comedy and how these symptoms have impacted all areas of his life, his career, being a husband and being a parent.
The Adult ADHD is Real campaign is sponsored by a coalition including patient advocacy organizations: ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO), Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). The coalition is dedicated to raising awareness about adult ADHD. Shire Pharmaceuticals also supports this campaign.