ADHD: Signs and symptoms as John Whaite discusses diagnosis

John Whaite, who has recently discussed his ADHD diagnosis. (Getty Images)
John Whaite has discussed his ADHD diagnosis. (Getty Images)

John Whaite has discussed his recent attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis, describing it as "the most liberating thing".

The Bake Off winner recently shared that he had been diagnosed with the condition with his 300,000 Instagram followers.

But he has now revealed his response to the news, explaining how it helped him make sense of his past behaviour.

“It turns out that I’ve got ADHD," he told Steph McGovern on Monday's episode of Channel 4's Steph’s Packed Lunch. "There’s a lot of scepticism at the moment in social media about ADHD but it is a recognised factual diagnosis, I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist.

“For me, it puts a lot of perspective and a lot of insight into my life. People often fear diagnoses, but actually this for me is the most liberating thing I think I've ever had."

The chef then said discovering he had ADHD was like ”multiple jigsaw puzzles finally getting put into place".

“Now I can look back at my life, the things I've done, at the conversations I've had, the arguments I've had, with a new perspective, it's beautiful," he added.

In terms of treatment going forward, Whaite says he is exploring CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), medication, as well as reading a lot about the subject.

Whaite isn't the only celebrity to discuss ADHD.

Read more: Johnny Vegas on being diagnosed with ADHD: ‘It answers a lot of questions’, Yahoo Life UK, 2-min read

Sam Thompson and Olivia Attwood are among the celebrities to talk about ADHD. (Getty Images)
Sam Thompson and Olivia Attwood are among the celebrities to talk about ADHD. (Getty Images)

Sam Thompson explored whether he has ADHD in an E4 documentary that aired earlier this month, after his girlfriend Zara McDermott said he'd been displaying signs for years.

As he approached his 30th birthday, the former Made in Chelsea star made the decision to finally get tested for ADHD and explore what a possible diagnosis might mean for him.

He said he is known by those close to him for his impulsiveness, for forgetting appointments and losing things like car keys.

Olivia Attwood previously discussed being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, revealing how it impacts her everyday life. The former Love Island contestant, 32, spoke about the condition while appearing on ITV's Loose Women, explaining that she was diagnosed while seeking treatment for anxiety and depression.

Read more: Woman diagnosed with ADHD at 44: 'I thought it only affected young boys', Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read

Woman with fidget spinner. (Getty Images)
Fidgeting and restlessness are just some of the many different ADHD symtpoms. (Getty Images)

Read more: Why so many women are only diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood

What is ADHD?

Many think of ADHD as a childhood condition, but a growing number of people in the UK are being diagnosed with the condition in adulthood.

According to the NHS, ADHD is a condition that affects people's behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but it has been shown to run in families.

Watch: Shaun Ryder opens up about how his ADHD led to his drug abuse.

What are the symptoms of adult ADHD?

While symptoms are similar for both adults and children, elements can differ or change as we get older.

"Adult symptoms of ADHD also tend to be far more subtle than childhood symptoms," the NHS explains.

Some specialists have suggested the following as a list of symptoms associated with ADHD in adults:

  • carelessness and lack of attention to detail

  • continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones

  • poor organisational skills

  • inability to focus or prioritise

  • continually losing or misplacing things

  • forgetfulness

  • restlessness and edginess

  • difficulty keeping quiet, and speaking out of turn

  • blurting out responses and often interrupting others

  • mood swings, irritability and a quick temper

  • inability to deal with stress

  • extreme impatience

  • taking risks in activities, often with little or no regard for personal safety or the safety of others – for example, driving dangerously

ADHD symptoms in women may be more subtle, including anxiety and low self-esteem, according to the Priory.

Read more: Three reasons your to-do list is not getting done if you have ADHD, Yahoo Life UK

The symptoms of adult ADHD are similar to that in children but more difficult to define. (Getty Images)
The symptoms of adult ADHD are similar to that in children but more difficult to define. (Getty Images)

How is ADHD treated?

Although there's no cure for ADHD, it can be managed with the right support, alongside medication, if necessary.

Signs and symptoms of ADHD in children

According to the NHS, the symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers are well-defined.

Children may have symptoms of inattentiveness, as well as hyperactivity and impulsiveness (or just one category).

Inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)

The main signs are:

  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted

  • making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork

  • appearing forgetful or losing things

  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming

  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions

  • constantly changing activity or task

  • having difficulty organising tasks

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings

  • constantly fidgeting

  • being unable to concentrate on tasks

  • excessive physical movement

  • excessive talking

  • being unable to wait their turn

  • acting without thinking

  • interrupting conversations

  • little or no sense of danger

For more information, see the NHS website.

This article was first published in June 2021 and has been updated