A recent study examined the costs of untreated Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Due to the persistent nature of ADHD, failing to address symptoms and deficits in childhood often leads to lingering challenges in adulthood. Work and social disruptions are common examples. In some cases, children with untreated ADHD may go on to have substance use or legal issues. Increased accidents and injuries are also seen with teens and adults with ADHD. All of these factors have a financial footprint.
Conducted in Australia, study findings indicated the total yearly financial costs associated with ADHD were approximately $7.45 billion. The largest area of financial loss was workplace productivity, suggesting workplace support and adaptations are key in mitigating the impact of ADHD. Healthcare, educational, and criminal justice costs were other significant areas that are impacted by ADHD.
Effects may be minimized by accurately identifying ADHD and associated risk factors early in a child’s life, as well as attending to continuity of care. Indeed, transitioning from pediatric care to teenhood and adulthood is a time when ADHD treatment can wane or cease. This is due in part to lack of available adult services for ADHD, other life priorities, and a personal sense that treatment may no longer be needed. However, this new research suggests that continued attention to ADHD is warranted, with significant financial consequences from failing to do so.