Up to 10 million American adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, so it's no surprise that some of America's most acclaimed athletes, actors, and musicians make up part of that mix. See which celebs have lived with an ADHD diagnosis since childhood and which have learned to manage their disorder as adults.
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Up to 10 million American adults have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—also commonly referred to as ADD—so it's no surprise that some of America's most acclaimed athletes, actors, and musicians make up part of that mix. Left untreated, the disorder is characterized by poor concentration and disorganization, and can lead to emotional and social problems.
About 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to experience these symptoms well into adulthood. And some people with the disorder don't receive an official diagnosis until middle age.
See which celebs have suffered with an ADHD diagnosis since childhood, and which have learned to manage their disorder as adults.
The 28-year-old retired Olympic swimming sensation is famous for his incredible focus in the pool, so it's hard to believe he has struggled with ADHD since childhood. His teachers complained about his inability to sit still until, in fifth grade, the Phelps' family physician formally diagnosed him with ADHD. At age 9, Phelps went on Ritalin; his mother, Debbie, later recalled in the New York Times that it seemed to help his hyperactivity. After two years on medication, however, Phelps said he felt stigmatized (each day at lunchtime he had to visit the school nurse to get his medicine) and asked to be taken off the drug. After consulting with his doctor, Debbie agreed to let him be med free.
Instead, Phelps used swimming to help him find focus. In fact, many children with ADHD benefit from competitive sports. "I'm just different in the water," Phelps told Sports Illustrated. "I just feel at home in it."
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