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Keath Low

Justin Timberlake Reveals He Has Both ADD and OCD

By June 27, 2008

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Justin Timberlake has not only brought SexyBack, he has also revealed that he has both ADD and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). In an interview with Collider.com the 27-year-old singer/actor is quoted as saying, “I have OCD mixed with ADD, you try living with that.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), OCD -- an anxiety disorder characterized by repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions and repeated actions or rituals called compulsions -- affects about 2.2 million American adults. It strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers and usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. ADD affects approximately 2 million children in the United States and according to the NIMH between 30 percent and 70 percent of these children will continue to exhibit symptoms in the adult years.

Though ADD and OCD can obviously present challenges in an individual’s life, problematic symptoms improve with treatment and Timberlake is obviously thriving.

In addition to his music, laughter has been a big part of Timberlake’s life. “My earliest memories as a kid was I would always try to make my mom and my stepdad laugh at dinner. Or make my friends laugh in class. And I don't know, it’s something I just really enjoy doing.” Timberlake continues to enjoy the excitement of live performances, as well. He even still gets butterflies right before taking the stage. “It’s not like, ‘Oh my God, I hope I do good.’ You just kind of get caught up in the electricity of it,” says Timberlake. “And when that stops happening, you should stop. It’s addictive, you know what I mean?”

Family and a sense of humor can be a great source of support in dealing with the stress that comes along with OCD and ADD. He credits his mother and stepfather for teaching him humility and keeping him grounded with a simple message -- everybody puts their pants on the same way every morning. Michael Jordan was the “it” celebrity when Timberlake was a kid. “I remember when I was really young and my parents telling me, He’s a great basketball played but that doesn’t make him superhuman, you know? That makes him a great basketball player.”

This matter-of-fact approach has continued to help Timberlake in his adult life. When he begins to feel too much pressure to meet people’s needs or fascination, he is able to just let it go. “I don’t invest in it. And I stay away from it as much as I can,” says Timberlake.

Sharing about his OCD and ADD also lets the world know that if you have OCD or ADD you are in good company!

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

July 3, 2008 at 11:10 am
(1) Angie Avery says:

I am so glad that someone famous is not ashamed to admit that they have a flaw, actually it makes me respect them more to know that they are HUMAN like me!!!! Thanks a bunch for sharing and letting me see success in your life! God Bless You and Yours!

July 6, 2008 at 11:57 pm
(2) Heather says:

They are all human, that is why we shouldn’t worship them.

July 7, 2008 at 1:41 pm
(3) Derek says:

ADD ADHD is no joke. I suffer/benefit from ADHD. I also have to contend with what I call “attendant” conditions of Depression, Insomnia, Dyslexia, PTS. With money and a strong support network, you can thrive. He sure is. Happy for him. Me, I have very little money–so, I am at a disadvantage, even though I have Medicare and SSDI and good friends. I live alone, own a business, and have not family in town. SO, I’m catching Hell. I can’t afford a coach and externally administered structure. But I have had a coach and structure in the past, and I did very well. My comment: get a coach and someone to give you some structure at home. Take your meds, get your rest and meals–you will do well.

September 3, 2008 at 2:28 pm
(4) Kate says:

My son is 7, and suffers from ADHD, dyspraxia, speech problems, OCD and dyslexia.

I know they are only human and shouldn’t be looked upto, but when my son sits and cries after school because he says he’s stupid and feels ‘like a freak’, but it is lovely to be able to point to someone in the media who has it too, as it makes my son feel like he’s not alone in the world with the problems he has.

It also shows you can have these conditions, and be successful too, much to the belief of some people. :)

September 3, 2008 at 9:32 pm
(5) add says:

I recall reading an interview with swimmer Michael Phelps. He was relentlessly teased in school for not only his ADHD behaviors, but for his body shape – long arms, short legs.

Well, look at Michael Phelps now! His powerful arms and legs and his ability to hyperfocus (a gift for many with ADHD) have helped him break Olympic and world records!

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March 3, 2014 at 12:39 am
(6) Hotchocolate says:

I don’t really believe he has either. Some individuals just say things like that. I think Justin was playing.

March 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm
(7) Dotty Ragan says:

I, too, have lived (and am still living with) A.D.D. and OCD. I was told that my A.D.D. was a result of my OCD. I had a hard time with it growing up as, at that time (1960′s, 1970′s, and 1990′s) there wasn’t any such diagnoses made that I’m aware of. I still live with it but take medicine for it (Metadate). It helps, of course no medicine is perfect. I feel that it still hinders me when looking for work as it has hindered me when I had jobs especially when I got older, it got worse. I have also take medicine for depression as well. But I am a survivor! I hope someday, I’ll get a job (before I go on Medicare) before I reach the age of retirement in spite of these disabilities. Thanks for speaking out, Justin! I, as well as others I’m sure, don’t feel alone in this.

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