Jermaine Pennant thought he was ‘lunatic’ before ‘lifesaving’ ADHD diagnosis

Jermaine Pennant has revealed he felt like a ‘lunatic’ for making a string of destructive decisions before being diagnosed with ADHD.

The former footballer, 40, appeared on Friday’s Good Morning Britain to discuss his ‘life-changing’ diagnosis and admitted that it helped him make sense of his past decisions.

While insisting that he couldn’t ‘make excuses’ for his behavior he shared his sadness at not being diagnosed until now because it would’ve made his relationships, work and life easier, noting he’s now ‘happier than I’ve ever been. ‘

Candid: Jermaine Pennant revealed on Friday's Good Morning Britain that he felt like a 'lunatic' for making a string of destructive decisions before being diagnosed with ADHD

Candid: Jermaine Pennant revealed on Friday’s Good Morning Britain that he felt like a ‘lunatic’ for making a string of destructive decisions before being diagnosed with ADHD

ADHD is a behavioral condition defined by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Speaking about his diagnosis, Jermaine said: ‘It’s life-changing because I would ask myself so many questions over the years. “Why do I leave destruction in my path?” Or “how have I got myself in certain situations?”

‘I just thought it was down to me just being a lunatic or just not well and having serious issues but not actually identifying what they were.

‘I was just going round-and-round in circles, making the same mistakes and telling myself ‘I know that I’m not a bad person but why am I doing this?’

Career setbacks: He shared his sadness at not being diagnosed until now because it would've made his relationships, work and life easier, noting he's now 'happier than I've ever been' (pictured playing for Stoke in 2011)

Career setbacks: He shared his sadness at not being diagnosed until now because it would’ve made his relationships, work and life easier, noting he’s now ‘happier than I’ve ever been’ (pictured playing for Stoke in 2011)

WHAT IS ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral condition defined by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

It affects around five percent of children in the US. Some 3.6 per cent of boys and 0.85 per cent of girls suffer in the UK.

Symptoms typically appear at an early age and become more noticeable as a child grows. These can also include:

  • Constant fidgeting
  • Poor concentration
  • Excessive movement or talking
  • Acting without thinking
  • Little or no sense of danger
  • Careless mistakes
  • forgetfulness
  • Difficulty organizing tasks
  • Inability to listen or carry out instructions

Most cases are diagnosed between six and 12 years old. Adults can also suffer, but there is less research into this.

ADHD’s exact cause is unclear but is thought to involve genetic mutations that affect a person’s brain function and structure.

Premature babies and those with epilepsy or brain damage are more at risk.

ADHD is also linked to anxiety, depression, insomnia, Tourette’s and epilepsy.

There is no cure.

A combination of medication and therapy is usually recommended to relieve symptoms and make day-to-day life easier.

Sources: NHS Choices

He went on to explain that he believed his ‘troubled childhood’ was to blame for developing the condition.

Jermaine added: ‘If you go to the beginning, you develop ADHD two ways. Either genetically from family or as a child you develop it through trauma and your environment.

‘I had a very troubled childhood so my ADHD was a way of survival mode as a child. I developed ADHD and it made me survive.

‘You can zone out when you get ADHD or you can zone in. My survival mode was to zone into football as that’s what I loved and that’s what saved me.

‘But, as an adult, on the flip side it turns into a negative and destruction if you’re not diagnosed or aware of it.’

Jermaine said: ‘It’s life-changing because I would ask myself so many questions over the years. “Why do I leave destruction in my path?” Or “how have I got myself in certain situations?”

Thinking about how different things could have been if he’d known sooner, Jermaine added: ‘Now I’ve been diagnosed everything I’ve done in my career I understand, all the stuff I’ve been through, the mistakes I’ve had.

‘I understand why I fell out with managers and TV bosses wouldn’t come near me because I couldn’t be trusted, I was unreliable.

‘But if people knew I had ADHD they would understand because you take risks, no consideration for danger, consequences for other people, you’re forgetful. When things are getting stressful or you can’t cope you’ll seek any validation.’

He added: 'I just thought it was down to me just being a lunatic or just not well and having serious issues but not actually identifying what they were'

He added: ‘I just thought it was down to me just being a lunatic or just not well and having serious issues but not actually identifying what they were’

Jermaine went on to reveal that it nearly cost him his relationship with Ex On The Beach star Jess Impiazzi, who he has been dating for nearly two years.

‘If it wasn’t for me getting diagnosed we would have broken up because its so difficult to live with,’ he explained.

‘I have to take melatonin at night because I can’t sleep. It’s like trying to manage eight screens, it’s a very busy active brain.

Nottingham-born Jermaine burst on to the scene as a teenager and became a £2million signing at just 15, making his debut for Arsenal as a 16-year-old.

He scored a hat-trick on his full Premier League debut aged 20. He later admitted he was out partying until 6am on the day of the game and won the match for his team hungover.

Despite his extraordinary start, he only made five full starts for Arsenal in seven years, and was shipped out on loan to various clubs where his personal problems continued.

Struggles: Jermaine went on to reveal that it nearly cost him his relationship with Ex On The Beach star Jess Impiazzi, who he has been dating for nearly two years (pictured in November 2022)

Struggles: Jermaine went on to reveal that it nearly cost him his relationship with Ex On The Beach star Jess Impiazzi, who he has been dating for nearly two years (pictured in November 2022)

In 2005, he was jailed for three months for drink driving while disqualified after crashing his friend’s Mercedes into a lamppost.

After 30 days in prison he was released and his club Birmingham City stood by him. He became the first player to play in the Premier League with an electronic tag on his ankle.

His football career continued with a big money move to Liverpool, earning him even more cash and even a Champions’ League winners medal before falling out of favour.

After retirement from football, he earned cash on the last series of Celebrity Big Brother and media commitments, including one occasion where he was accused of being drunk on Sky Sports News.

Past: Jermaine previously said his biggest regret was being jailed for three months in 2005 for drink driving (pictured at Aylesbury Magistrates Court)

Past: Jermaine previously said his biggest regret was being jailed for three months in 2005 for drink driving (pictured at Aylesbury Magistrates Court)

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