Costs (of not treating ADHD)
Fees for my services are listed in the "Services" page. This page addresses the costs, financial and otherwise, of NOT treating ADHD.
ADHD affects an estimated 5% of the population; that's 1 in 20 people. It is a genetically conferred neurologic conditon, occurring globally across all levels of intelligence and socioeconomic groups.
ADHD diagnosis is often missed by licensed psychiatric-mental health clinicians, because it is relatively new area of neuropsychiatry and most healthcare providers did not receive adequate training in it. The skepticism and negative attitudes of many healthcare providers, including inadequately informed psychiatric clinicians, mirror that of the general public, only adding to the already tremendous burden of ADHD.
Undiagnosed ADHD often results in suffering due to "co-occurring/co-morbid" conditions like anxiety, mood disorders, emotional dysregulation disorders, alcohol and drug dependence, eating disorders, Asperger's syndrome, personality disorders, and learning disorders (difficulties with listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, and math calculation). The prevalence of ADHD in individuals with Learning Disorders is estimated to be as high as 55%. The presence of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in the lifespan of someone with ADHD is estimated to be 80%. ADHD is associated with a four-fold increase in risk for suicide, compared with non-ADHD control subjects. If you have sought treatment for any of these conditions and did not respond to traditional treatments as expected, ADHD may be the root cause of your problems. Likewise, the impact of ADHD affects physical health; one study estimated that the 9 year median cost per person for medical care was twice as high for adults with ADHD compared to non-ADHD subjects.
ADHD also causes functional difficulties--in academic, occupational, self-care, and interpersonal matters.
Academic difficulties can be encountered at any time in a person's academic career; for some people, this happens in elementary school and for others it is in college. Why? While one is born with ADHD, one also has strengths and supports that allow them to compensate; as academic work becomes progressively more rigorous, ADHD "emerges". Students with ADHD are more often retained in their grade level than non-ADHD students, and are more likely to be suspended or expelled. They also experience higher high school dropout rates, lower class rank, lower GPAs, and lower rates of college and post-high school program entry/completion than students without ADHD.
Occupationally, people with ADHD experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment as compared with the general population. They frequently change jobs, voluntarily or otherwise, as employees with ADHD are 3 times more likely to be fired than non-ADHD employees. Job termination can result in loss of health insurance, credit rating, residence, and bankruptcy. Recent estimated cost of decreased work productivity due to ADHD in the US is $140-266 Billion per year.
Attentional difficulties can affect driving ability, causing higher rates of traffic citations, license suspension, road rage arrests, and vehicular accidents. Attention while driving can be improved by driving a standard shift car, which forces the ADHD brain to frequently re-focus on what gear one is in.
ADHD negatively impacts interpersonal relations with peers, parents, and spouses, and can lead to rejection, isolation, and loneliness. Young children avoid classmates who are hyperactive and behaviorally disruptive. There are high rates of incarceration in young adults with hyperactivity. Substance abuse and addiction occurs more frequently in teens with ADHD; conversely, diagnosed teens treated with controlled-substance stimulant ADHD medication are far less likely to abuse illicit drugs. Spouses of adults with ADHD suffer great burden, and divorce rates in the ADHD population are estimated to be 50%, substantially higher than the general population. Despite making commendable efforts to get through their day, people with ADHD feel drained, are readily angered and upset, easily frustrated, and prone to losing their temper. They often feel disorganized and overwhelmed.
The impact of ADHD on the individual is felt in unrealized potential, suffering, poor self-esteem, low productivity, psychiatric diagnoses, impaired function, poor quality of life, and a shorter life expectancy compared to people without ADHD. The price of a proper ADHD care may sound steep, but the price of living life with ADHD is much higher.