Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a cognitive medical condition characterized by a dysregulation of the brain’s biological functioning. This deregulation commonly results in hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattentiveness, and poor executive functioning. According to the NHI Journal of Global Health, ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder impacting approximately 5% of children and adolescents who are affected by ADHD globally.
Although commonly associated with children and adolescents, ADHD is relatively common in adults. More than half of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to experience symptoms as adults. 6.76% of adults globally, translating to 139.84 million and 366.33 million affected adults in 2020. However, many of these individuals live successful lives. Some people with ADHD have even become famous!
Common Symptoms and Characteristics of ADHD
ADHD is commonly characterized by symptoms of hyperactivity, distractibility, impulsivity, and difficulty with executive functioning.
Symptoms of Hyperactivity
- Over activity
- Fidgeting most of the time
- Squirming in their seat
- Purposeless or non-goal directed activity
- Goes from one activity to another without
Symptoms of distractibility
- Very distractible
- Does not complete tasks
- Lacks selective attention
- Unable to concentrate (unless fascinated by a subject)
- Tendency to daydream
Symptoms of Impulsivity
- Interrupting conversations
- Demands must be met immediately
- Poor planners
- Lack of organizational skills
- Lack of self-control
- Does things without thinking of consequences
Famously Successful People with ADHD
Despite being diagnosed with ADHD, most individuals go on to live happy and successful lives. In fact, there are many famously successful people openly living with ADHD.
Decorated Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps, was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 9. His ADHD made schoolwork challenging, and he often acted out in class, struggled to sit still, and had difficulty completing tasks. Phelps went on the record saying, “I [saw] kids who were all in the same class, and the teachers treated them differently than they would treat me. I had a teacher tell me that I would never amount to anything and I would never be successful.” Wow! Was that teacher wrong! While medication made things better, it wasn’t until Phelps found his way into the pool that he found the ability to personally manage his disorder. Phelps went on to win 28 Olympic medals, of which 23 were gold.
Canadian comedian and television personality Howie Mandel was diagnosed with ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Despite growing up during a time when these disorders weren’t fully understood (in the 1960s), he achieved great success in life. However, he still struggles with both as an adult.
In speaking about his diagnosis, Mandel wrote, “After I impulsively revealed that I have OCD on a talk show, I was devastated. I often do things without thinking. That’s my ADHD talking. Out in public, after I did the show, people came to me and said, ‘Me, too.’ They were the most comforting words I’ve ever heard. Whatever you’re dealing with in life, know that you’re not alone.”
Maroon 5 singer and frontman Adam Levine is recognized worldwide as a celebrated musician and host of the popular reality TV show The Voice. He wrote for Additude magazine that as a child, “he struggled with what seemed normal to other kids, like sitting still, completing work, focusing.” As an adult, his ADHD sometimes impacted his ability to focus during songwriting and studio time. He went back to the doctor and learned that the ADHD hadn’t gone away as he’d grown up. Levine, although successful, still deals with his ADHD daily.
One of the world’s most decorated Olympic gymnasts, Simone Biles, was diagnosed with ADHD. Leaked drug tests from the Olympic committee showed that Biles tested positive for methylphenidate. This drug is also known as Ritalin. It’s prescribed to many individuals with attention disorders, including Biles. Biles released a public statement explaining, “I have ADHD, and I have taken medicine for it since I was a kid. Please know, I believe in clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and is very important to me.”
Global superstar singer, songwriter, and actor Justin Timberlake revealed in an interview with Collider.com that he has both OCD and ADD. Timberlake went on the record saying, “I have OCD mixed with ADD.” However, Timberlake has gone on to achieve great success despite these challenges.
Sir Richard Branson
Born in 1950, Sir Richard Branson is a business mogul and billionaire. With an estimated net worth of $4.77 billion, Brandon is the founder of the Virgin brand. He has successfully managed this multi-billion dollar brand which consists of businesses in the travel, health, space, cellular, banking, music, and leisure industries. Richard has spoken publicly about his ADHD and dyslexia and how he overcame his symptoms to achieve great success.
Leonardo da Vinci
Born in 1452, Leonardo da Vinci remains one of the most well-known and influential artists history has ever known. Best known for his paintings Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, Leonardo was also a master sculptor, painter, engineer, scientist, mathematician, architect, and inventor. According to research, Leonardo da Vinci was thought to exhibit many symptoms of ADHD. For example, he worked on multiple projects at once and struggled to complete them. He was also constantly on the move and highly disorganized.
Innovative creator and founder of Microsoft Bill Gates is one of the world’s most famous innovators in the world of technology. With an estimated net worth of $92 billion, Gates has admitted to struggling with ADHD, saying he has always had difficulties concentrating and learning things. However, this did not stop him from reaching the most incredible professional heights in his life.
Developing the theory of relativity isn’t something a person with difficulty concentrating would typically do, but Albert Einstein didn’t let his ADHD hold him back. In fact, Einstein was notorious for never giving up, even when he failed. Along with ADHD, many scholars believe Einstein also suffered from Asperger’s syndrome. This just goes to show you that with the right tools and support, individuals with neurological disorders can achieve great success.
Living Your Best Life with ADHD
If ADHD impacts you or someone you love, don’t settle for simply masking the symptoms. By strengthening core brain skills, you can dramatically and permanently improve the way the brain functions and the way the brain pays attention. With the right tools and solutions, both children and adults with ADHD have the opportunity to overcome the limitations this disorder presents. Appropriate brain training, not accommodation, creates an opportunity for a brighter future.
Children and adults with ADHD deserve the opportunity to overcome this disorder’s limitations. You do not have to face these challenges alone. The professionals at The Brain Workshop are here to help.
Contact a member of our team to learn more.