Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition which causes changes in behaviour amongst both adults and children. ADHD is classed as a disability in the UK, US and a number of other countries due to the symptoms people experience with the condition impacting their ability to function in daily life. A person can be diagnosed with ADHD at many different stages of their life, although the process can be lengthy and, in some cases, expensive. It is important to remember that an ADHD diagnosi is not as uncommon as you may think; there are many famous people who are proud to share their ADHD diagnosis with the world.
Positive attributes of ADHD
Many people live healthy and successful lives with an ADHD diagnosis. This does not mean that they don’t have struggles or experience symptoms of the disability as severely as others, but they learn to focus on the positive attributes their condition provides them with. A person with primarily hyperactive and impulsive ADHD may wish to channel their abundance of energy and hyper-focused periods into a hobby or passion such as sports and music.
Simone Biles is a 25 year old American gymnast who successfully competed in two Olympic games, winning a total of 7 medals. Biles was diagnosed with ADHD at an early age and has been taking medication since childhood for her condition to enable her to function well in society and achieve her goals in life. There is a level of stigma surrounding ADHD in the world of sport, and Simone wants to advocate for that. She is proud to show others with the condition that you can have ADHD and still be able to focus consistently on something which you are passionate about.
Another former Olympian with ADHD, Michael Phelps swam competitively for the US over the course of 16 years. Diagnosed at nine years old, an expected symptom of the condition which Phelps struggled with was his attention span. He represents an example that when a person with ADHD has an interest and love for something, it is possible to develop self-discipline and channel your hyperactive energy into something such as sport.
Sam Fender is a 28 year old English singer, songwriter and musician who has openly spoken about his struggles with both ADHD and mental health issues throughout his teen years. Fender turned to music as an outlet for his emotions, and refers to having ADHD as feeling like a “superpower” as when he becomes hyper-focused he creates his best work and can immerse himself in the music. A symptom of ADHD is intense experiencing of emotions, and this paired with communication barriers can lead to a rather frustrating result. Fortunately, Fender shows fans that there are alternative ways to deal with these emotions that go beyond communication; channel them into a creative outlet such as music and feel proud of your creations as a result.
One of Britain’s most famous chefs, Jamie Oliver was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Impulsivity is a predominant symptom of ADHD, however Oliver uses cooking and baking as a great way to experiment with this side of the condition. He openly discusses his passions surrounding the importance of healthy eating and nutrition, and believes that this can play a key role in managing the symptoms of ADHD and the behaviours associated with the condition.
Due to the fact that ADHD can cause inattentiveness in those with the condition, it is often assumed that a career or pursuit in acting will prove to be a challenge. This is due to the fact that actors are required to memorise intensive amounts of scripts, as well as channel their focus into the mindset of the character they are playing. Ryan Gosling is an American Golden Globe winning actor who has lived with an ADHD diagnosis since childhood. Gosling has spoken about how performing became a passion of his during childhood as it helped to develop his self-confidence. An approach which Gosling uses in his acting career to help his ADHD is that he takes on roles in which he resonates with the character or sees a part of himself in. This takes away the pressure of having to focus on becoming an entirely different persona, and instead uses acting as a way to express emotions he may otherwise struggle to convey. Gosling comments that “I’ve learned it’s important not to limit yourself. You can do whatever you really love to do, no matter what it is.” Gosling is just one of many actors who have succeeded in the industry with ADHD, proving that it is an achievable career for those with the condition.
When we look to the past we can see that people displaying elements and behaviours of ADHD have been achieving remarkable things for centuries. Albert Einstein was a German theoretical physicist born in the late 1800’s who developed the theory of relativity. It is believed that Einstein had ADHD due to his frequent inattentiveness and chaotic persona, all while displaying significant levels of intelligence. The Nobel Prize winner used his ability to hyper-focus into the study of quantum physics, being able to notice the smaller details that often go unmissed to the neurotypical brain.
Being a student with ADHD can prove challenging at times due to the symptoms that can arise such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, the key to succeeding in your studies is to find a passion or interest and adapt your skills to utilise the positive attributes of ADHD to benefit you and succeed in life. It is evident that there are a wide range of hobbies, careers and passions which people with an ADHD diagnosis can excel in, either famously or just for fun! Whether you want to get better at a sport, channel your emotions into song writing and performance, get creative with food, immerse yourself in a role or discover the next scientific theory, an ADHD diagnosis will not stop you from getting there, you’ve just got to have faith in yourself!