Michael Phelps and his mom
Itsuo Inouye, AP
Aug. 19, 2008

It takes steely discipline and laser-like
concentration to become an athlete of the
caliber of Michael Phelps, who won a
record-breaking eight gold medals at the
Olympics in Beijing.  

The mother of Olympic golden boy Michael
Phelps recently opened up to The New York
Times about her son's journey to Olympic
superstardom, including his diagnosis with
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a
As early as preschool, teachers began
complaining that Michael couldn't sit still or
concentrate. "In kindergarten I was told by his
teacher, 'Michael can't sit still, Michael can't be
quiet, Michael can't focus,'" Debbie Phelps told
the Times.

Doctors diagnosed Michael with ADHD when
he was 9 years old. He took medication, but
two years later asked his mother if he could
stop. She agreed after consulting with his
doctor. ..

Ultimately, Michael learned to manage his
hyperactivity through behavioral modifications
and sheer discipline, Debbie said in a
separate interview with ABC News. Above,
Michael celebrates winning the gold medal in
the men's 100 meter butterfly final during the
Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

In total, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals,
including six gold and two bronze at Athens in
2004 and eight gold in Beijing. That makes
him the most successful swimmer and
Olympian of all time...

But when Phelps was growing up, some
doubted whether he was destined for great
things. As early as preschool, teachers began
complaining that he couldn't sit still, stay quiet
or concentrate. "Your son will never be able to
focus on anything," one teacher told his
parents. He was later diagnosed with attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder.

In a recent New York Times article, the
swimmer's mother, Deborah Phelps, recounts
how her son emerged from that struggle to
become the phenom he is today.

Before the Olympics, Deborah Phelps spoke
to Good Housekeeping about her son and
Kids and ADD
Phelps Disciplined Over Marijuana
Pipe Incident
February 5, 2009

The Olympic swimming sensation
Michael Phelps, who was
photographed inhaling from a
marijuana pipe, has lost a major
sponsorship deal and has been
suspended from competition for three

Kellogg, the food company, said
Thursday that it would not renew its
contract with Phelps when their deal
expires at the end of February. It would
not disclose the value of its contract.

Later Thursday, USA Swimming
suspended Phelps for three months.

“Michael’s most recent behavior is not
consistent with the image of Kellogg,”
Susanne Norwitz, a spokeswoman for
the company, said in a statement.

USA Swimming publicly reprimanded
Phelps, who won eight medals at the
Beijing Games, temporarily withdrawing
its financial support to him and barring
him from competition through early
May. Phelps receives a monthly
stipend of $1,750 from the
organization. The national and world
championships will be held in the

“We decided to send a strong
message to Michael because he
disappointed so many people,
particularly the hundreds of thousands
of USA Swimming member kids who
look up to him as a role model and
hero,” the organization said in a

Phelps’s agent, Drew Johnson, also
released a statement, saying that
Phelps accepted and understood the
decisions. “He feels bad he let anyone
down,” the statement said. “He’s also
encouraged by the thousands of
comments he’s received from his fans
and the support from his many
sponsors. He intends to work hard to
regain everyone’s trust.”

Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the
United States Olympic Committee, said
Thursday that U.S.O.C. officials were
willing to work with Phelps to ensure
that he does not repeat his misstep.

Kellogg, which has featured Phelps on
its Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes
cereal boxes, is the first company to
drop Phelps after a British tabloid last
weekend published a photograph of
him inhaling from a marijuana pipe.

Phelps, 23, admitted that the photo,
taken at a student party at the
University of South Carolina, was
authentic. He subsequently
apologized, calling his behavior

Several of Phelps’s sponsors —
including Speedo and Omega — have
accepted his apology. Others,
including Visa and Subway, have not
taken a position.

As it stands, Phelps’s actions have
already put a dent into his sponsorship
spoils, which some marketing experts
say could reach $100 million in his

Karen Crouse contributed reporting.
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Diagnosing and Treating Adult ADHD
Aug 24 08

ANNOUNCER: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, was
originally considered a childhood disorder.

But in most cases, ADHD persists into adulthood.

LENARD ADLER, MD: Adult ADHD is a very common and quite impairing
disorder. Recent studies show that about 4.4% of the adult population in
the United States has ADHD. That means about 8 million individuals.

ANNOUNCER: There can be serious consequences associated with
undiagnosed or untreated adult ADHD.

LENARD ADLER, MD: If individuals are worried that they might have ADHD,
it's important to go in and get a diagnosis. The consequences of missing
the diagnosis are significant. We know that untreated adults with ADHD are
more likely to be divorced and separated, to be underemployed, change
jobs more frequently or be unemployed, more likely to abuse substances,
smoke cigarettes, and have more driving accidents.

ANNOUNCER: Most adults do not experience the same level of hyperactivity
that is found in children.

But there are other symptoms that can be common in adults.

WILLIAM D. DODSON, MD: Adults will present with three large groups of
symptoms. The first one is work inefficiency. They will start on a project, get
distracted, then realize that they're distracted, have to come back, find their
place. The second big area of impairment is going to be in emotional
lability. People with ADHD generally will say that that's the biggest area of
impairment for them, is that they feel very vulnerable to the perception that
someone is disapproving of them, has withdrawn their approval and
respect. The third major area that impairs people with ADHD is impulsivity.
People with ADHD find out what they're thinking and are going to say and
do the same way that everybody else does. It's out there, and they're
constantly going, "Oh, I wish I had that back."

ANNOUNCER: And adults often suffer from additional medical conditions
that can mask ADHD symptoms.

DAVID W. GOODMAN, MD: In ADHD we often find that about 70% of the
adults with ADHD have or have had another psychiatric condition. Those
conditions include clinical depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders
and substance and alcohol abuse.

DR. DAVID FEIFEL: Oftentimes the second condition in an adult is driven
by the ADHD that if -- if the ADHD isn't recognized, it can be a very
frustrating experience for both the physician and the patient who are trying
to deal with the comorbid or second condition, because it doesn't respond
very well, because the ADHD is lurking behind it and continues to generate

ANNOUNCER: An accurate diagnosis of ADHD requires a thorough medical
and psychological evaluation.

DR. DAVID FEIFEL: There's no test, neither a brain scan or a computer
test, that will in and of itself diagnose ADHD. At the core of it, the diagnosis
is a good interview with somebody who's experienced with what ADHD, you
know, is all about and can differentiate symptoms that fall into the category
of ADHD from those that might belong to something else.

ANNOUNCER: Treatment usually includes counseling, so patients can be
better organized managing their daily tasks.

DAVID W. GOODMAN, MD: We talk about managing this person's behavior
during the day. Audio cues like alarms and clocks help orient them to time.
Visual cues help them remember how to do things and when to do things.

ANNOUNCER: In addition to behavioral modification, most patients are
prescribed stimulants.

DAVID W. GOODMAN, MD: The stimulant medications that are indicated for
adult ADHD are Adderall XR, and Focalin XR. The most common prescribed
long-acting stimulant medication for adults is Adderall XR.The term
stimulant comes from the fact that if I give these medications to a person
without ADHD, they get activated. They get hyper. But ADHD brains are
different, so that when we give these medications to them, it calms them
down. It reduces their distraction. It slows their thinking so that they can
stay on one thought at a time, and also they say they're less fidgety and
more calm.

ANNOUNCER: Most patients can feel almost immediate results while taking
stimulant medications.

WILLIAM D. DODSON, MD: They are immediately effective as soon as they
reach the brain. It's not like antidepressants, where you have to putz
around for three weeks to see if they're going to do anything. These
medications, you'll see all the benefits, all the side effects in just one hour.
So consequently, you can fine-tune the medication very aggressively.

ANNOUNCER: Stimulants are not addictive, and doctors say that they are
unlikely to be abused by people with ADHD.

DAVID W. GOODMAN, MD: There's a perception that stimulant medications
are abusable and desirable, that people are out there seeking them all the
time. My experience with my patients is getting them to take it consistently. If
they're so desirable, how is it my ADHD patients only fill eight prescriptions
a year when they ought to be filling 12? So in fact, they're forgetting to take
their medicine.

ANNOUNCER: A diagnosis of ADHD and adherence to treatment can make
a world of difference to adults with the disorder.

WILLIAM D. DODSON, MD: I've never met a person who said, "Boy, I'm glad
I waited until I was 40 to start on medication." Just about everybody says,
you know, "My life would have been so different if I'd started on medication
and got treatment as early as possible." You're not doing anybody a favor
by waiting to initiate treatment.