The Economic Burden of Adult ADHD

Adults with ADHD have to deal with all sorts of costs. Some are directly related to the condition, but some are hidden. Medical costs are obvious, but what about the "cost" of missed opportunities, money lost to impulsive behaviors, and other nonmedical costs? The good news is that being aware of the economic burden of ADHD gives you the tools you need to better manage both these costs and your health.


An Unfair Situation

If you are frustrated by how much money your adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) costs you, you're not alone. The fact that this condition isn't preventable or curable makes the added costs seem so unfair. After all, you have ADHD through no fault of your own. Unlike many other medical conditions, you didn't get ADHD because of a lifetime of unhealthy habits. Instead, this is something you've had since you were a young and innocent child.
If you have adult ADHD, you may already be keenly aware of the costs associated with the condition. However, there may be a few hidden costs you never considered. Keep reading for a breakdown of some of the obvious and not-so-obvious costs. You may even spot a few that you had missed. For those who don't have ADHD, keep reading for an eye-opener that may help you empathize with a friend, coworker, or family member with this condition.

Direct Medical Costs

Studies confirm that adults with ADHD have higher medical expenses compared to similar people without it. Some of these related medical expenses include:
  • Doctor visit costs (even with insurance, you still have a copay)
  • Lab costs or other testing costs (some ADHD medications require lab tests or heart tests in order to be used safely in adults)
  • Medication costs (again, even with insurance, you still have a copay)
  • Therapy or counseling costs
  • Cost to treat related conditions (for instance, the cost of treating substance abuse, since people with ADHD may have a higher risk for this).
Although these expenses are not unique to ADHD, some factors can make these medical expenses especially burdensome. For instance, most conditions -- at least the ones you can't treat at home -- have doctor visit costs. However, you may need to see your doctor frequently, especially if you are taking a stimulant for ADHD. According to federal law, every time you need a stimulant medication filled at your pharmacy, your doctor has to hand-write a new prescription every single time (refills are not allowed). Because of this requirement, along with the fact that stimulants have the potential to be abused, frequent doctor visits might be necessary.
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