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Maroon 5's Adam Levine reveals harrowing battle with ADHD

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine details harrowing battle with ADHD.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine revealed he has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in a new PSA for the "Own Your ADHD" campaign.

"When I was first diagnosed with ADHD, it wasn't a surprise because I had difficulty in high school focusing," said Levine. "I think now people notice my ADHD as an adult on a daily basis. When I can't pay attention, I really can't pay attention."

Adam has been very open about his personal struggles. He previously revealed his lifelong battle with acne, and even shared photos of his pimply face as a teen and adult acne sufferer.

Levine, now a rep for Proactiv, said having bad skin damaged his self-esteem and made him insecure about his looks. Adam was recently named the Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.

Levine said he decided to go public with his ADHD to encourage others suffering from the condition to seek help. ADHD symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and extreme difficulty paying attention and staying focused. ADHD afflicts 3% to 5% of children and adults in the United States, although the figure is likely higher because many ADHD cases go undiagnosed.

Levine isn't the only celebrity who has gone public with his ADHD struggle. Jennifer Aniston's fiance, actor Justin Theroux, detailed his difficult childhood as an ADHD sufferer.

“I could not keep my mind on one task," said Theroux. "It was like trying to bite down on a tennis ball. The toe starts tapping, your hand moves, and next thing you know, you’re grabbing a pencil, breaking it and throwing it. Reading was tough, like, insurmountable."

Similarly, swimming icon Michael Phelps (winner of 18 Olympic gold medals) was diagnosed with ADHD at age nine, and took medication during his childhood to combat the condition. He later weaned himself off the drugs and has reportedly managed his ADHD through regular workouts and a low-sugar diet.

Actor Channing Tatum was also diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Tatum, who has dyslexia and ADHD, took prescription drugs as a child to cope with his learning disabilities.

He experienced severe depression as he built up a tolerance for his ADHD medication and the drugs became progressively less effective. As a result of his harrowing experiences, Tatum vowed never to medicate his daughter.

"For a time, it would work well, then it worked less and my pain was more," he said. "I would go through wild bouts of depression, horrible comedowns. I understand why kids kill themselves. I absolutely do. You feel terrible. You feel soul-less. I’d never do it to my child.”

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, although genetic factors and a diet high in sugar and processed foods play a role. Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, said a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can manage and even reverse ADHD symptoms.

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