Attention hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition that affects a person’s ability to focus, pay attention, or control their behavior. Healthcare providers usually diagnose this condition in childhood. However, some people are not diagnosed until adulthood.
The three main characteristics of a person with ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD also can cause a person to experience very high energy levels. Some symptoms associated with ADHD include:
- being highly impatient
- difficulty performing tasks quietly
- difficulty following instructions
- trouble waiting for things or showing patience
- losing things frequently
- often seeming as if they aren’t paying attention
- talking seemingly nonstop
There is no definitive test to diagnose ADHD. However, healthcare providers can evaluate children or adults for the condition based on symptoms. A number of treatments are available to improve a person’s concentration and behavior. These include medications and therapy. ADHD is a highly manageable disease. When taught adaptive techniques to help with time management and organization skills, people with ADHD are able to achieve better levels of concentration.
ADHD can be difficult for a person to live with. Some people think those with ADHD are “out of control” or difficult because they have trouble following directions. While ADHD can mean behavioral challenges, having the condition has proven to be an advantage to some.
Many people with ADHD have turned their unique behavioral challenges into well-known success. Examples of celebrities whose healthcare providers have diagnosed them with ADHD include:
- Adam Levine
- Channing Tatum
- Glenn Beck
- James Carville
- Justin Timberlake
- Karina Smirnoff
- Richard Branson
- Salvador Dali
- Solange Knowles
- Ty Pennington
- Whoopi Goldberg
Athletes with ADHD also use the extra energy toward their respective fields. Examples of athletes with ADHD include:
- swimmer Michael Phelps
- soccer goalie Tim Howard
- baseball player Shane Victorino
- NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw
Not every person with ADHD has the same personality traits, but there are some personal strengths that can make having the condition an advantage, not a drawback. Examples of these traits include:
- energetic: Some with ADHD often have seemingly endless amounts of energy, which they are able to channel toward success on the playing field, school, or work.
- spontaneous: Some people with ADHD can turn impulsivity into spontaneity. They may be the life of the party or may be more open and willing to try new things and break free from the status quo.
- creative and inventive: Living with ADHD may give the person a different perspective on life and encourage them to approach tasks and situations with a thoughtful eye. As a result, some with ADHD may be inventive thinkers. Others words to describe them may be original, artistic, and creative.
- hyperfocused: According to Pepperdine University, some people with ADHD may become hyperfocused. This makes them so intently focused on a task that they may not even notice the world around them. The benefit to this is when given an assignment, a person with ADHD may work at it until its completion without breaking concentration.
Sometimes a person with ADHD needs assistance in harnessing these traits to their benefit. Teacher, counselors, therapists, and parents can all play a role. These experts can help a person with ADHD explore a creative side or devote energy to finishing a task.
Research about ADHD benefits is often based more on stories from people with ADHD than actual statistics. Some people with the condition report that the condition has affected them for the better.
A study published in the journal Child Neuropsychology found that ADHD sample groups displayed greater levels of creativity in performing certain tasks than their peers without a diagnosis of ADHD. Researchers asked participants to draw animals that lived on a plant that was different from Earth and create an idea for a new toy. These findings support the idea that those with ADHD are often creative and innovative.
A diagnosis of ADHD does not have to put a person at a disadvantage in life. Instead, ADHD can and has contributed to the success of many movie stars, athletes, and businesspeople. From Albert Einstein to Michael Jordan to President George W. Bush, there are many people who have reached the pinnacles of their fields with ADHD.