Johnny Vegas: Comedian Opens Up About Recent ADHD Diagnosis

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Johnny Vegas said that for him, ADHD is related to “a feeling of disorganization and continuing with basic tasks.”

Comedian and actor Johnny Vegas has announced that he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the age of 52.

The comic told BBC Breakfast that being diagnosed before Christmas “answers a lot of questions about past behavioral problems”.

His comments came after presenter Sue Perkins recently revealed that she too had received a similar diagnosis.

She wrote last week after which “suddenly everything made sense”.

Vegas said he and Perkins had the same agent, which he suggested he check out as well.

Perkins said things now made sense ‘to me and to those who love me’

“A lot of things make sense now,” the Benidorm and Still Open All Hours Vegas star told Breakfast on Wednesday.

When asked what the condition means to him, he said: “It is this sense of disorganization and basic work. Everyone has an element of that – it’s how strong your filter is I guess.

“If you don’t have a filter at all, very simple things take a lot of time. It’s like, [I’ll say] I’m moving this cup and then you have 10 other ideas and you didn’t move this cup and then three weeks later this cup is still there and someone says why you didn’t move that and this monumental task was done and it’s built.

“It’s just, I suppose, how your mind organizes itself. I always knew I was disorganized…but this [the diagnosis] it helps to understand many things in school. I’m in the process of learning.”

‘No regrets’

He added that “in a way, it made me who I am,” and asked if “this mess helped me to be a better person.”

“In a way, you can go back and look at it with regret, but I had a bit of a full life, so I don’t regret it,” he said. “Now I know and it helps you make changes I suppose as you want to take on more responsibility later in life. I don’t see it as defining me.”

Tony Lloyd, chief executive of the ADHD Foundation, told Breakfast that one in 20 people have the condition but it is “significantly under-identified and under-diagnosed in the UK”.

“There was a lot of persistent stigma and myths about ADHD,” he said.

“There are many adults out there who have struggled with many different symptoms of ADHD for years but didn’t think they had ADHD because they didn’t identify with this inculturated belief that we were all given in school — that if you had it.” ADHD, you were less intelligent, you were less efficient, you behaved badly, and of course all that nonsense.

“So there are many adults who, now that ADHD is much better understood, are starting to realize that perhaps many of the reasons they were struggling were actually ADHD. Many have been treated for things like anxiety and depression for years, and they’re realizing that now they actually have a better understanding of what ADHD really is, so maybe that’s why.”

ADHD in adults

  • NHS England estimates that 3% of the population has ADHD

  • It is characterized by three main characteristics – inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, but some people may have only one of these characteristics or a combination of two rather than all three.

  • These are more extreme in people with ADHD than others, and have been since childhood

  • A GP can refer patients to a specialist for assessment

  • Lifestyle changes to reduce stress can help people with ADHD thrive

  • Medication also helps many adults, but it is not the only solution

Read more from the ADHD Foundation.


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