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.”