Why is ADHD in adults and children (more adults with ADHD than kids) so neglected, ignored and stigmatized?

Few medical professionals are trained on ADHD, heavy media, business, healthcare & non profit stigma against ADHD that is relatively cost free, though not always cost free. Sometimes there are costs applied.

Many adults and children with ADHD go undiagnosed and untreated, and because of the heavy stigma, few adults with ADHD and parents of ADHD children go public complain to govt/media/business/health & educational bureaucracies. No one complains, establishment doesn’t think its a problem.

If you read the research, you will see that ADHD is very expensive to ignore.

Here are some examples on the socio-economic costs of ADHD

Comparison Of The Burden Of Illness For Adults With ADHD Across Seven Countries: A Qualitative Study

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2012, 10:47. Brod, Meryl Pohlman, Betsy Lasser, Robert Hodgkins.

The focus groups were designed to elicit narratives of the experience of ADHD in key domains of symptoms, daily life, and social relationships.

ADHD is a consistent and stable diagnostic category across North America and Europe among those who carry the diagnostic label as adults. This appears to be true even in countries in which doctors typically do not recognize ADHD among adults.

This suggests that the burden of illness and impacts of ADHD are similar across these seven countries and not limited to the United States alone.


Impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder on the patient and family: results from a European survey

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2008, 2:31. David Coghill, Cesar Soutullo, Carlos d’Aubuisson, Ul rich Preuss,Trygve Lindback, Maria Silverberg and Jan Buitelaar.

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often experience problems with education, interaction with others and emotional disturbances. Families of ADHD children also suffer a significant burden, in terms of strain on relationships and reduced work productivity. This parent survey assessed daily life for children with ADHD and their families.


A review of the economic burden of ADHD. A Meta Analysis of 22 Original Studies

Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation 2005; 3: 5. Louis S Matza, Clark Paramore, and Manishi Prasad.

A literature search was performed using MEDLINE to identify all published articles on the economic implications of ADHD. Here is there analyis of 22 relevant items were located including published original studies, economic review articles, conference presentations, and reports.

The purpose of this paper is to review and summarize available literature on the economic costs of ADHD, as well as potential economic benefits of treating this condition. In addition, recommendations for additional research on the economic implications of ADHD are provided.


The Prevalence And Incidence, Resource Use And Financial Costs Of Treating People With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) In The United Kingdom (1998 To 2010)

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2013, 7:34. Holden, Sarah E Jenkins-Jones, Sara Poole, Chris D Morgan, Christopher L Coghill, David Currie, Craig J.

The prevalence of diagnosed ADHD in routine practice in the UK was notably lower than in previous reports, and both prevalence and incidence of diagnosed ADHD in primary care have fallen since 2007.

Financial costs were more than four times higher in those with ADHD than in those without ADHD.


Why it makes economic sense to treat adult ADHD

ADHD IN PRACTICE 2010, Vol 2 No 3. Adamou, Marios MD MA MSc LLM MBA MRCPsych DOccMed.

Adults with ADHD in the UK are still struggling to get access to even very basic care specific to their condition.

4 categories of ADHD costs & benefits of treating ADHD:

Category 1: direct tangible costs and benefits. For example, in the case of adult ADHD, successful treatment programmes mean savings on future medical expenses; direct and tangible benefits of treating adult ADHD include a reduction in traffic and other accidents, in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and in the overall number of visits to the doctor.

Category 2: indirect tangible costs and benefits. Indirect and tangible benefits of treating adult ADHD include the working time gains, for healthcare professionals, resulting from the reduced treatment needs outlined above. The literature in this area is in its infancy, with only a handful of contributions

Category 3: direct intangible costs and benefits. Direct intangible benefits of treating adult ADHD include reduced pain and suffering. Other benefits are a reduction in the costs of adult ADHD for families and in the costs of ADHD for society overall (ensuing from criminality and impairments).

Category 4: indirect intangible costs and benefits. An indirect intangible benefit of treating adult ADHD could be the aesthetic beauty of a well-planned new treatment centre – although one would not expect to see this very frequently in the NHS.

The benefits of treating adult ADHD will be much greater if it is accepted that ADHD is a causal factor for the common comorbid conditions, rather than just another co-occurring condition.


Social and emotional difficulties in children with ADHD and the impact on school attendance and healthcare utilization.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2012, 6:33. By Peter Classi, Denái Milton, Sarah Ward, Khaled Sarsour and Joseph Johnston.

Children with ADHD and comorbid depression, anxiety, or phobias had significantly greater odds of experiencing > 2 weeks of missed school days, >= 6 visits to a healthcare provider (HCP), and >= 2 visits to the ER, compared with ADHD children without those comorbidities (OR range: 2.1 to 10.4).

Significantly greater odds of missed school days, HCP visits, and ER visits were also experienced by children with ADHD who were worried, unhappy/depressed, or having emotional difficulties as assessed by the SDQ, compared with ADHD children without those difficulties (OR range: 2.2 to 4.4)


CADDAC report. Paying Attention Paying Attention to the Cost of ADHD. The Price Paid by Canadian Families, Governments and Society. It’s CADDACs new report on the social and economic costs of ADHD.

Download (PDF, 773KB)


Here’s a great presentation via CADDAC on the socio-economic costs of ADHD –  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by the ex head of the BC Adult ADHD clinic (for the brief 3 years while it was around) and the BC Childrens ADHD clinc, still around, Psychiatrist & CADDRA board member  Dr. Margaret Weiss, who has a masters in public health, now in private practice in West Vancouver.

Download (PDF, 608KB)