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ADHD: Living in Overdrive

Published: October 17, 2012

Karina Smirnoff

ABC/ADAM TAYL

Karina Smirnoff

Known for her beauty and grace on Dancing with the Stars, celebrity dancer Karina Smirnoff has also stepped forward to raise awareness of ADHD by sharing her personal experience with the disorder and urging others to seek help.

“As a professional dancer, I’ve become known for my moves and my career accomplishments, but most people don’t know about another part of my life—I’m an adult with ADHD,” says Karina, who has struggled with the ADHD symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, throughout her life.

Fortunately, a friend recognized how her symptoms were impacting her life and urged her to see a doctor.

“My parents tried anything and everything just to address my inattention and provide an outlet for my hyperactivity,” says Karina. “They enrolled me in activities that held my interest like figure skating, ballet, gymnastics, and playing the piano. Throughout my life, I have found ways to cope with my symptoms, because I thought they were just part of who I am.

“After speaking with my doctor and getting diagnosed with ADHD, I realized that having tools—such as medication and organizational strategies—would help manage my symptoms. In addition to recommending strategies, such as taking breaks during rehearsals, my doctor prescribed medication, as part of my ADHD treatment plan. Like most adults, my schedule is very busy. My day is filled with 10-hour dance rehearsals for my television show, teaching choreography, dancing in shows, and constant travel. With improvement in my ADHD symptoms, I can focus on finishing what I start.”


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  • Roxanne Ryan

    THANK YOU for this well written article for an ADHD audience! :)

    Loads of great points here. As an adult with ADHD, I know that I’m capable of accomplishing remarkable things if I can just get out of my own way! Not everyone is tolerant, understanding and patient — nor do I expect them to be. I’ve just come to terms with that and with the appreciation of how unique I am. It takes time to see the positive differences we possess because we’ve been told our whole lives about the annoyingly obvious ones.

    But please, if you have ADHD and you’re reading this, don’t give up on yourself. Keep trying. I know that you are working on being the best you can every day. Start by recognizing just one good thing you do differently because you have ADHD. For me, it’s determination – especially when trying to figure something out that seems unsolvable. When others give up, I want to soldier on until we’ve found a solution. I work with my ADHD to explore many different solutions until finding the solution.

    Those of us with ADHD have a big responsibility to show the world that we are more that what our disorder tries to hide with disorganization, tardiness and rambling apparently nonsensical comments. We can do that by facing each day head on, knowing that we have something remarkable to share with the world. Don’t let anyone make you believe anything different.

  • Jesika St Clair

    Great questions, Ann, and glad you enjoyed the article!

    Here are some online resources we’ve found that may help you and your son in dealing with Adult ADHD:
    CHADD.org is a great place to start your research. At Adults with ADHD: Steps for Beginners you can learn the basics of ADHD and take a self-evaluation. The page also links to helpful suggestions on how to find a medical professional.

    Helpguide.org’s Help for Adult ADD/ADHD page offers plenty of self-help tips, such as staying focused, managing time, and more. Shane Victorino’s Own It project’s resource page, provides lots of helpful links, including the National Resource Center on ADHD.


    Jesika St Clair | Associate Editor
    The Saturday Evening Post

  • Ann Grigway

    I read the article, If it’s boring I’m done. It is my 50 year old son. This is him to a tee. He is very smart, everyday jobs, he can’t stay focused. Now the horse racing, he loves, as it lights his fire. This can be a big problem. Who should he see for this. Mental Health, Primary Care, or who? He is so smart, he outsmarts himself. I am amazed by this article. Ann Grigway