The Economic Burden of Adult ADHD

Nonmedical Costs

Some ADHD-related costs have nothing to do with medical expenses, and may not be obvious to you. These costs might include:
 
  • Fees for paying bills late
  • Fees for missing appointments
  • Fines and legal expenses for reckless behavior
  • Money wasted on gambling, alcohol, or drug use (people with ADHD have a higher risk for these problems)
  • Higher food-related costs (if you have trouble with meal planning, you may rely heavily on takeout or expensive last-minute grocery trips)
  • Money spent on unnecessary impulse purchases.
 
These are just a few of the seemingly limitless ways in which your ADHD symptoms might affect the way you spend money.
 

"Reduced Income Potential" Costs

Although these are not technically expenses, these costs can have an enormous economic impact. What do we mean by "reduced income potential" costs? We're talking about the ways that you may end up earning less money because of your ADHD, such as:
 
  • Attaining a lower educational level (for instance, not going to college or not completing college)
  • Choosing a less demanding but lower paying career 
  • Missing out on promotions due to poor work performance or excessive absences
  • Frequently switching jobs or careers
  • Choosing self-employment options (working for others is sometimes difficult for people with ADHD)
  • Getting trapped in a dead-end job because you need good insurance
  • Having trouble getting a job at all due to poor references from past jobs.
 
These are essentially costs of missed opportunities. They're full of what-ifs and should-haves. As such, these costs are difficult to quantify and sometimes difficult to detect. But although these costs are nonspecific and relatively intangible, it's easy to see how they can affect your entire financial situation.
 
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