The Economic Impact of ADHD

By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – August 21, 2023

The economic impact of ADHD is growing every year. It’s underestimated how much of an impact ADHD has on society in general, but especially adults and families, as well as on the workplace as shown by recent reports. ADHD is not a small thing, and it’s important to advocate for more investment in providing help and support.  But this is just one piece of the puzzle.

A report published in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry shows the overall annual incremental cost just 10 years ago was over $140 billion in the US. Today, it’s a much larger number.

A major eye-opener is that a lot of it is for adults with ADHD but very little is counted for providing support for them.  Even these huge numbers are underestimated. Though clearly, a whopping $105 billion is attributed to adult ADHD, it’s not being addressed sufficiently and adults with ADHD are underserved.

While a few employers are open to helping their employees with ADHD, the overall financial burden is left on the shoulders of the employee. ADHD actually impacts the bottom line, which means that employers have a huge stake in it.

There’s also the economic impact to spouses and families as they suffer in terms of the burden of the work they have to deal with. Families suffer not only with financial issues, but also discord due to the many issues related to ADHD behavior. Even at work the non-ADHD spouse struggles because of having to deal with and organize all the family health obligations. As a result, carrying this extra load affects their productivity and ultimately the employer’s bottom line.

What’s more, health care expenses are not really included in the numbers, so the overall cost is highly underestimated. There’s also a higher divorce rate in marriages impacted by ADHD, but the cost of divorce is also not included in the reports. This has a significant impact on the economy, because ADHD couples are twice as likely to be divorced as other couples.

We also don’t know what we don’t know regarding entrepreneurs and their lost opportunities because of challenges of ADHD. There is inadequate support for them, and the burnout rate is three to six times more likely. Also, these costs are not included in the overall national numbers.

If you have ADHD or are impacted by it, please check out this episode on Attention Talk Radio, to understand just how significant the impact of ADHD is on our economy.

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