ADHD News & Research

Study: Living with ADHD Causes Significant Socioeconomic Burden

Living with ADHD poses a significant economic burden, according to a new study of the Australian population that found the annual social and economic cost of ADHD was $12.76 billion, with per person costs of $15,664 over a lifetime.

October 21, 2020

Living with ADHD may cost an individual $15,664 over a lifetime, and approximately $12.76 billion annually in the United States. This finding comes from a study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders1 that attempted to comprehensively document the social and economic costs associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) using a lifespan approach. The study calculated financial costs across multiple domains, the largest of which was lost productivity.

Researchers used a prevalence approach to estimate the costs associated with ADHD across all ages in Australia in the 2018 – 2019 financial year. They measured financial costs in the domains of healthcare, productivity, education and justice systems, and deadweight losses. Non-financial costs, or Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), were also measured.

The results demonstrated that ADHD is linked to substantial societal costs across the lifespan: $15,664 per person and approximately $12.76 billion in 2019 alone (in U.S. dollars). Productivity (absenteeism, presenteeism, reduced employment) costs were 81% of the total financial costs, followed by deadweight losses (11%), and health system costs (4%). Loss in terms of wellbeing was $5.31 billion, equating to 42% of the costs attributable to ADHD.

Few international studies of the economic burden of ADHD account for its non-financial costs. Researchers conclude that these findings, presented in metrics commonly used by politicians and policy makers, are necessary to advocate for policy changes, including advancement in treatments.


1Sciberras E, Streatfeild J, Ceccato T, et al. Social and Economic Costs of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Across the Lifespan. Journal of Attention Disorders. October 2020. doi:10.1177/1087054720961828