Penn Holderness Says ADHD Medication ‘Got Me a Diploma.' Why the Viral Video Star Doesn’t Take Meds Now (Exclusive)

Holderness, who, with wife Kim, has amassed millions of fans with their parodies and skits, considers his ADHD brain a gift

<p>The Holderness Family/Facebook</p> Penn Holderness

The Holderness Family/Facebook

Penn Holderness

Penn Holderness says there's no way of hiding his ADHD — and he's fine with that.

"It's a fairly scorching case," says the viral video star, 49. "Anybody can tell that after spending five minutes with me."

Penn says his ADHD brain has actually been a boon for dreaming up new parodies and skits about everything from Swifties, to, yes, ADHD, with wife Kim, 48, for their The Holderness Family channel. And over the years, he's developed strategies for managing the challenges of life with ADHD (which include his tendency to space out, lose wedding rings and, occasionally forget to pick up a kid). He also married an understanding spouse, with whom he's just written a book on the topic, ADHD is Awesome, out April 30.

<p>Holderness Family Productions</p> Penn and Kim Holderness in 2023.

Holderness Family Productions

Penn and Kim Holderness in 2023.
<p>Harper Horizon</p> Penn and Kim's new book, out April 30.

Harper Horizon

Penn and Kim's new book, out April 30.

Related: Penn and Kim Holderness Say His ADHD Energy Is the Magic Behind Their Viral Success (Exclusive)

"I was lucky enough to be able to find a job that is conducive to this kind of brain, to have a family that can understand this brain and to find a wife who somehow was attracted to this kind of brain," says Penn. "And for that reason, I don't take medication and haven't since I was 20 or 21."

But, he adds, "I want to make it very clear that I am neither a pundit for or against medication. The science shows that an overwhelming majority of people who take it find it improves their symptoms."

Penn was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder when he was in college. He took medication for his senior year "and it got me a diploma." But, once he graduated and found a job as a sportscaster, which matched his need for excitement and spontaneity, he decided to stop.

Related: Penn and Kim Holderness on Turning Mental Health Struggle into 'Superpower' to Win 'Amazing Race'

The couple acknowledges that pharmaceuticals have been life-changing for many with ADHD. "We know so many people saved by ADHD medication," Kim says. "And it's come a long way since 1993 when Penn was in college."

Jokes Penn, "I think what I took was is considered a banned substance now, for sure!"

In fact, when their son, Penn Charles, now 14, was diagnosed with the condition in 2022, they let him choose whether or not he wanted to try medication.

<p>The Holderness Family</p> Penn Charles, 14, Lola, 17, Penn and Kim Holderness in 2022.

The Holderness Family

Penn Charles, 14, Lola, 17, Penn and Kim Holderness in 2022.

"He took it at the end of last school year and at the beginning of this school year," Kim says. "He asked if he could try without it because after school, he got really tired, and that's when basketball is."

The key to going without meds, says Penn, is "getting systems in place" to help, like making sure his son's math class comes at the beginning of the day before he gets too tired.

Adds Kim, "So far he's rocking it, but it's always there as an option."

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