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Ex-footballer Jermaine Pennant reveals he has ADHD, joining Olivia Attwood and Johnny Vegas

Ex-Premier League footballer Jermaine Pennant today became the latest celebrity to come forward about their ADHD diagnosis.

Pennant, 39, claimed his condition meant he would ‘just ignore things’ and bury his ‘head in the sand’, confessing that at one point he even forgot he owned a six-bedroom mansion in Cheshire.

Pennant, a former Celeb Big Brother contestant, suggested his struggles with the condition were partly to blame for him falling into bankruptcy.

 The ex-Arsenal and Liverpool star Jermaine Pennant confessed to having ADHD in an interview where he estimated to having lost more than £10million

Ex-Arsenal and Liverpool star Pennant, who described himself as ‘financially illiterate’ in an interview with The Sun, is not alone in his battle with ADHD (or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). 

One in 25 people are estimated to have the condition, which tends to be spotted in childhood. Sufferers can feel restless, struggle to concentrate and act impulsively.

Just this week, legendary comic Johnny Vegas told of his own ordeal with ADHD, which can also trigger sleep and anxiety disorders. 

And earlier this year, reality TV star Oliva Attwood revealed she was ‘lucky’ to be diagnosed. 

Doctors say there is a surge in adults seeking advice and getting checked out for ADHD, following a wave of celebs talking about the condition.

Only specialist doctors can diagnose the disorder following a detailed assessment, as there is no simple test. GPs refer patients with suspected ADHD once they have ruled out mental health conditions and if symptoms are affecting their daily life.

A combination of treatments — including drugs to boost concentration and control impulses, therapy and changes to diet — may be prescribed to manage the condition.

The exact cause of the condition is not fully understood — but it is thought to be a combination of genetics and abnormalities in brain structure. Those born prematurely, who have epilepsy or severe brain damage are most at risk.

As a growing number of celebs come forward about living with the condition, MailOnline reveals the stars with ADHD. 

Olivia Attwood

The former Love Island star, 31, one of the show’s most explosive characters in the 2017 series, revealed she received a diagnosis after she sought help for mental health problems. 

Attwood has spoken openly about her struggles with ADHD, discussing it during an appearance on Loose Women in 2021 and on her ITVBe show Olivia Attwood Meets Her Match.

The former Love Island star, Olivia Attwood, said she was 'lucky' to get a ADHD diagnoses. In a frank admission, Attwood, who appeared on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here in 2022, described it as a 'state of being constantly overwhelmed'

The former Love Island star, Olivia Attwood, said she was ‘lucky’ to get a ADHD diagnoses. In a frank admission, Attwood, who appeared on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2022, described it as a ‘state of being constantly overwhelmed’

The reality TV star, who is engaged to footballer Bradley Dack, found she struggled with anxiety and depression before she was diagnosed.  

Discussing her ADHD diagnosis on Loose Women, Attwood said: ‘It was a stroke of luck that it was diagnosed.

‘Through my teens and early 20s when it wasn’t managed, I acted without thinking, it caused myself and people around me a lot of stress.’

In a frank admission, Attwood, who appeared on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2022, described it as a ‘state of being constantly overwhelmed’.  

Johnny Vegas

The ex-Benidorm star, 52, was diagnosed with ADHD just before Christmas.

He came forward about his life with the condition this week, admitting that it ‘answers a lot of questions about my behavioural issues’. 

Legendary comic Johnny Vegas explained he is just on the verge of learning about it and still in the 'early stages' of working through medication

Legendary comic Johnny Vegas explained he is just on the verge of learning about it and still in the ‘early stages’ of working through medication

Speaking on BBC Breakfast he said: ‘I think it’s just a lot of things make sense. 

‘That sense of disorganisation and doing basic tasks. Very simple things can become very time consuming.

‘I suppose it’s how your brain organises itself. I always knew I was disorganised, but that was the kind of joke that, “I am as they made me”.’

He explained he is just on the verge of learning about it and still in the ‘early stages’ of working through medication.

Sue Perkins

The former British Bake Off host, 53, revealed on Twitter that ‘everything has made sense to her’ since she received her diagnosis. 

Earlier this month she responded to a post by Gomez guitarist Tom Gray, who admitted that he was ‘creeping’ towards his own diagnosis of the disorder. 

The former British Bake Off host, Sue Perkins, said that 'everything made sense' to her after her ADHD diagnosis

The former British Bake Off host, Sue Perkins, said that ‘everything made sense’ to her after her ADHD diagnosis

The former Great British Bake Off host, 53, made the revelations in a response to a Twitter post by Gomez guitarist Tom Gray, who admitted that he was 'creeping' towards his own diagnosis of the disorder

The former Great British Bake Off host, 53, made the revelations in a response to a Twitter post by Gomez guitarist Tom Gray, who admitted that he was ‘creeping’ towards his own diagnosis of the disorder

Musician Tom had opened up on the affect his undiagnosed condition was having, writing on his page: ‘I’m creeping towards an ADHD diagnosis. 

‘Strongly advised to do it to help me but more likely help people who have relationships with me.

‘Never realised before how object permanence is such a problem for me. Staying in touch rarely if ever occurs to me. I can only apologise. x.’ 

In response, Perkins wrote: ‘I have fully crept. 

‘Once I had the diagnosis, suddenly everything made sense – to me and those who love me. Wishing you well on the journey, Tom x.’ 

Justin Timberlake  

The former NSYNC singer and actor, 41, revealed he has ADHD and discussed his frustrations back in 2008.

Justin Timberlake revealed in the 2008  interview that he uses singing to deal with his ADHD

Justin Timberlake revealed in the 2008  interview that he uses singing to deal with his ADHD

In an interview with Collider, Timberlake briefly opened up about his diagnosis and said: ‘I have OCD mixed with ADD, you try living with that.’

The singer, who has sold more than 88million records, revealed in the interview that he uses singing to deal with his condition. 

Known for the songs SexyBack, Mirrors, and Cry Me a River, the American artist recently sold his entire music catalogue for $100million. 

Zooey Deschanel

New Girl and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy star, Zooey Deschanel, says she has ADHD. 

In a blog post for HelloGiggles, in 2011, she revealed how she uses crafting to help focus her mind.

New Girl and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy star, Zooey Deschanel, revealed in a blog post that she finds crafting helps her focus and manage her ADHD

 New Girl and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy star, Zooey Deschanel, revealed in a blog post that she finds crafting helps her focus and manage her ADHD

The 42-year-old wrote: ‘Are you an unmedicated adult with Attention Deficit Disorder who also LOVES to do crafts? I am! 

‘I barely have the patience to write this opening paragraph (I have already gotten up four times), so I need to focus my unfocused mind on projects that can be completed very quickly… 

‘I recognize I will never complete something that takes any kind of patience (sorry needlepoint) so I decided to focus this blog on crafts I CAN complete.’

Georgia Harrison

The reality TV star and social media influencer, who appeared on the same series of Love Island as Attwood, said she was labelled a ‘trouble maker’ and was thrown out of private school before she even knew she had ADHD. 

Reality TV star and social media influencer Georgia Harrison, who appeared on the same series of Love Island as Attwood, said she was labelled a 'trouble maker' and was thrown out of private school before she even knew she had ADHD

Reality TV star and social media influencer Georgia Harrison, who appeared on the same series of Love Island as Attwood, said she was labelled a ‘trouble maker’ and was thrown out of private school before she even knew she had ADHD

Harrison, 28, who had a brief stint on The Only Way is Essex, told OK! Magazine in October 2021 that her ADHD diagnosis transformed her outlook on life.

She said: ‘I was really clever, in all of the tops, got mostly straight As and always intended to do well, but I had ADHD and didn’t know it.

‘I found it hard to concentrate, I was getting in trouble for being too loud, speaking when I shouldn’t, interrupting people, I had all of the symptoms’. 

Harrison added that if she had been diagnosed when she was a teenager it would have given her more understanding.  

Mel B 

The Spice Girl opened up about how she manages her ADHD and dyslexia. 

Exercise has helped her stay focus and keep her mind clear she revealed in a interview in 2018. 

Mel B has revealed that she has been diagnoses with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and that she uses exercise to help her focus

 Mel B has revealed that she has been diagnoses with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and that she uses exercise to help her focus

The 47-year-old singer told Paul McKenna on his Positivity podcast: ‘Exercise helps me meditate and get rid of my anxiety. It helps me focus on me for that one hour. I do have mental illness, you have to be a little bit crazy to do what I do’. 

The mother-of-three explained that exercise helps her meditate and being in the countryside helps with her mental health. 

She also revealed that she has been diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and anxiety. 

Paris Hilton

The socialite, 41, is set to release her first memoir in March, which is said to touch on her rocky adolescence and battles with undiagnosed ADHD. 

She was diagnosed with ADHD in her childhood and went public with her condition in 2007.

Paris Hilton, who shot to fame in 2003 on reality show The Simple Life alongside BFF Nicole Richie, was diagnosed with ADHD in her childhood and went public with her condition in 2007

Paris Hilton, who shot to fame in 2003 on reality show The Simple Life alongside BFF Nicole Richie, was diagnosed with ADHD in her childhood and went public with her condition in 2007 

She has previously branded the condition her ‘superpower’ saying: ‘I am a creative. My mind is always moving. I am always thinking of new ways to do business.

‘I think it gives me this drive and edge I needed to succeed. It can be a superpower if nurtured in the right way!’

During Hilton’s teens, her wild appearances at nightclubs and glitzy events led to her being dubbed a socialite, before she shot to fame in 2003 on reality show The Simple Life alongside BFF Nicole Richie. 

Jamie Oliver

Since childhood, the celebrity chef has struggled with both ADHD and dyslexia. 

The 47-year-old often talks about his way of coping with the conditions.

In a post on Instagram in October, he told his 9.2million followers that he has ‘come to terms’ with not learning the same way as others — putting his resent towards school behind him.

Jamie Oliver says that he finds eating a healthy diet is a good way of managing his ADHD. The NHS says people find that cutting out certain foods and taking supplements can help with their ADHD symptoms

Jamie Oliver says that he finds eating a healthy diet is a good way of managing his ADHD. The NHS says people find that cutting out certain foods and taking supplements can help with their ADHD symptoms

The chef has also advocated for the use of diet and nutrition to help manage the symptoms of ADHD. He believes that his number one treatment for the condition is eating a healthy balanced diet. 

Some people find that cutting out certain foods and taking supplements can help with their ADHD symptoms, according to the NHS. 

But people are advised to speak with their GP before making any changes to their diet. 

Lily Allen

The pop singer, 37, has repeatedly discussed her struggles with ADHD and how it affects her everyday life. 

In an interview with NME in 2018 she said: ‘I think because I’ve got ADHD as well, I get very easily distracted. 

‘So if I’m trying to have a deep and meaningful conversation with someone and then something happens somewhere else, I just wander off. 

‘And that can be really hurtful and upsetting for someone who’s trying to have that deep and meaningful conversation with me.’

Singer Lily Allen said her ADHD sometimes means she  gets easily distracted and wonders off during meaningful conversations

Singer Lily Allen said her ADHD sometimes means she  gets easily distracted and wonders off during meaningful conversations

The musician has also previously opened up about her addiction to the prescription drug Adderall, which is used to treat ADHD, in 2014.

The mother-of-two told DJ Fat Tony on The Recovery Podcast that she was 14 stone and ‘did not feel like a pop star at all’. 

She said: ‘I started taking this drug called Adderall, which is like speed, to lose the weight.

‘And I got addicted to this drug because it made me invincible and I could work really long hours and be all the people I was required to be.’

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WHAT IS ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural condition defined by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

It affects around five per cent of children in the US. Some 3.6 per cent of boys and 0.85 per cent of girls suffer in the UK. 

Symptoms typically appear at an early age and become more noticeable as a child grows. These can also include:

  • Constant fidgeting 
  • Poor concentration
  • Excessive movement or talking
  • Acting without thinking
  • Little or no sense of danger 
  • Careless mistakes
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Difficulty organising tasks
  • Inability to listen or carry out instructions 

Most cases are diagnosed between six and 12 years old. Adults can also suffer, but there is less research into this.

ADHD’s exact cause is unclear but is thought to involve genetic mutations that affect a person’s brain function and structure.

Premature babies and those with epilepsy or brain damage are more at risk. 

ADHD is also linked to anxiety, depression, insomnia, Tourette’s and epilepsy.  

There is no cure. 

A combination of medication and therapy is usually recommended to relieve symptoms and make day-to-day life easier. 

Source: NHS Choices 

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