‘It’s made me who I am’: Johnny Vegas diagnosed with ADHD at 52

British actor and comedian says condition has made him disorganised but ‘chaos’ may have helped his standup performance

The comedian and actor Johnny Vegas has revealed that he has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at the age of 52.

The NHS describes ADHD as a condition that affects people’s behaviour with restlessness, trouble concentrating and impulsiveness among its effects.

Vegas, who was born in St Helens, Lancashire, told BBC Breakfast that he had the same agent as the broadcaster Sue Perkins, who recently said she had received a similar diagnosis.

Asked on BBC Breakfast what the condition meant for him, Vegas, known for, among other shows, the TV comedy series Ideal, and sitcom Benidorm, said: “It’s that sense of disorganisation and doing basic tasks. Everybody has an element of it. It’s how strong your filter is, I think.

“When you don’t have a filter at all, very simple things become very time consuming. It’s like, [I’ll say] I’ll shift that cup, and then you have 10 other ideas and you haven’t shifted that cup, and then three weeks later that cup’s still there and somebody’s like, why haven’t you shifted that, and it’s become this monumental task and it’s built up.

“It’s just, I suppose, how your brain organises itself. I always knew I was disorganised … but [the diagnosis] helps make sense of a lot of things at school. I’m just on the verge of learning about it.”

He added “it’s made me who I am” and speculated whether “that chaos” had helped him to be a better standup comedian.

“In some respects you can go back and look at it with regret, but I’ve had a bit of a charmed life, so it’s no regrets,” he said. “I know now and it helps you make changes, I suppose, as you want to get more responsible later in life. I don’t see it as defining me.”

Other celebrities who have gone public with having been diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood include the presenters Ant McPartlin and Richard Bacon, the comedian Rory Bremner, and model Erin O’Connor.

The NHS says that most cases are diagnosed when children are under 12 years old, but sometimes the condition is diagnosed later in childhood and sometimes in adulthood.

For adults with ADHD, medicine is often the first treatment offered, although psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can also help, the NHS said.

Perkins, the former presenter of The Great British Bake Off, this week revealed she had been diagnosed on social media, adding “suddenly everything made sense”.


Jamie Grierson

The GuardianTramp

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