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Tara Palmer-Tomkinson: 'I'm not on drugs, I have autism'

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how an individual person relates to and communicates with other people

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson has battled with substance abuse, hyperactivity and has long been the subject of tabloid fodder thanks to her hard-partying, socialite lifestyle.

But the 42-year-old godchild of Prince Charles has since had a revelation. She has since been told she's been living with autism.

"I was diagnosed as having a high degree of autism," she told the Mail on Sunday in an interview.

"It was a shock but could explain why I've always lived my life at such a frantic level.

"I was even given Ritalin as a child to make me concentrate. No one could understand why I behaved a certain way. I do fidget and ramble when I speak, but I'm totally aware and focused."

She went on to claim that she feels many assume her sometimes erratic or unusual behaviour to be the result of drugs.

"Sometimes it might seem like I'm on something, but I've worked hard to stay off drugs since I left rehab in 1999," she said.

However, she said learning from her psychologist that she was on the high autistic spectrum was actually a "relief".


"I had a reason for my odd behaviour. It's probably why I'm very driven and always throwing myself into everything that I do.

"Now I'm beginning to understand myself, I don't ever want to of back to feeling like some mad woman."

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how an individual person relates to and communicates with other people, and how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that people with autism may share certain difficulties, but that it will affect their lives in different ways.

Often, females who suffer from autism are diagnosed later on in their lives for a number of reasons. Not least because as a gender, they are often better able to follow social actions by delayed imitation and therefore mask the signs.

This means that thousands of autistic girls struggle through early life, aware that they are different but not why they are different.

Elsewhere in the interview, she discussed her past struggles to overcome drug addiction.

"I really regret the first time I did coke," she said. "It was with a boyfriend and while I don’t regret the fun I had on it, I do wish I had never started.

"I started lying to everyone close to me. I became deceptive and deceitful at hiding the fact that I was using.

"When you get sober only your family and good friends are pleased. I’ve learned that sobriety doesn't suit everyone around you.

"I went to a friend’s house for the weekend and they told me they had put a joint in my bedroom in case I wanted to light up before bed. I decided not to stay.

"Then the host escorted me to my car and said, 'You were so much more fun when you were stoned.' I left in floods of tears.

"I’ve ditched all the toxic people I used to have around me and I won’t stay anywhere that drugs are being used."