SPOKEN OUT: Mayor reveals ADHD diagnosis in bid to highlight condition
Independent Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston in front of the Transporter Bridge, Image: Dave Allen
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston has revealed he’s been diagnosed with ADHD in a bid to raise the profile of the condition.
The independent mayor said he was told he had the disorder a year ago after his son received a diagnosis.
And he explained he had spoken out to reassure people its effects can be overcome, and to encourage them to find out more during ADHD awareness month.
Mr Preston said: “It’s a neurological development problem and, basically, it can mean that you have challenges in organising and structuring your work and other aspects of your life.
“It can lead to massive problems with concentration.”
The mayor said he struggled at school “in a big way” but managed to go on to university and build business and charities.
And Mr Preston explained he wasn’t saying that to boast.
The 55-year-old added: “What I’m saying is that all things are still achievable but you need to get a diagnosis, understand the limitations of this minor disability, and overcome those limitations.”
October is ADHD awareness month to help more people understand the disorder.
People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating, and may act on impulse.
Its symptoms tend to be noticed at an early age – and most cases are diagnosed when children are six to 12-years-old.
Its exact cause is unknown, but the condition has been shown to run in families – and research has identified a number of possible differences in brains of people with ADHD compared with those who don’t have it.
Medicine, support and psychological therapies can help manage the condition.
Mr Preston was elected to office in 2019 after a career in finance and working with charities once returning north.
In his video, he urged people to seek help as a first step if they suspected they had ADHD – or their children had received a diagnosis.
The mayor said: “Talking to your doctor is a really great thing and that’s what we did as a family.
“We talked to a doctor and managed to get a diagnosis.”
And the mayor was keen not to mark the condition as a barrier to success in life.
Mr Preston added: “The last thing I’d say is if you’re worried about your kids and they may have ADHD – and about 1 in 15 do – is that isn’t not something that will stop you achieving things.
“Famous people that are believed to have ADHD are people like Richard Branson and Jamie Oliver who’ve gone on to do incredible things.
“They have this challenge and you can work with it.”
Words: Local Democracy Reporter
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