The Cost of AD/HD

AD/HD costs its sufferers $77 billion in lost earnings each year, concludes a Harvard Medical School study.

Saturday January 1st - 12:00am

"Our study shows the problems faced by people with AD/HD, ranging from school difficulties to emotional difficulties to problems in the workplace, have enormous economic impact," said Joseph Biederman, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"Our survey shows that AD/HD is a highly disabling disorder with a significant effect on education and employment," Dr. Biederman says. "AD/HD individuals with high school degrees earn significantly less than their non-AD/HD counterparts. On average, those with AD/HD have household incomes that are lower by about $10,791 for high school graduates and $4,334 for college graduates, compared to those who do not have AD/HD."

Biederman interviewed 500 adults with AD/HD and compared their income levels and other aspects of life, such as education, to 500 adults from the general population.

Much of the lost income may reflect difficulties in school and college, said Biederman. "Adults with AD/HD are less likely to have finished high school or to pursue further education. Higher education was not only associated with an expected higher income, but was also associated with higher rates of full-time employment. AD/HD's effect on the ability to have full-time employment indirectly accounts for 17 percent of the projected $77 billion in losses due to AD/HD."

Biederman found other problems that were also prevalent among people with AD/HD. "They had higher divorce rates," he says, "and substance abuse was more common than in the control group. In addition, they were less likely to have a positive self-image or to be optimistic."

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