The real cost of ADHD

The real cost of ADHDAttention deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder (adhd) and it’s more common relative, Attention deficit Disorder (ADD) are being diagnosed in children at an unprecedented rate. There is a fear that while many do have adhd or ADD to a greater or lesser degree, the diagnosis is being used as a catch-all for other disorders that perhaps are not so clearly defined. While most sufferers of ADD or ADHD will out-grow the symptoms, a significant number will carry them throughout their lives.

There is an effect on the sufferer of these disorders. Problems in education or work, relationships and friendships can suffer, how others perceive a sufferer, and how the sufferers perceive themselves can all be touched by ADD or ADHD. It’s impact is hard to quantify as it often seems to affect different people in different ways. One person may be great with being on time, and getting things done but suffer when the job at hand is boring or doesn’t tax the mind, while another might be great at simple jobs but find it impossible to arrive at work on time.

As well as the emotional and physical effects, there is the obvious, and also the not so obvious, financial impacts.

Those with ADHD or ADD have less impulse control, and therefore are more likely to come home from the mall with something unexpected, and often expensive and un-needed. With millions of goods just a keyboard click away on the internet, credits card bills can quickly mount up. There is also the distraction and ignorance factor. It can be difficult to impossible to keep a house clean when house work is viewed as boring but playing games on the internet is not. It isn’t avoiding the work, it is simply that it is hard to keep on track with doing the everyday boring things that don’t tax the mind or keep the brain occupied. To a non sufferer, it appears to be a case of laziness, or lack of pride in appearance. It can be incredibly hard to explain.

There is the obvious financial costs associated with any disorder or illness whose treatment involves prescribed medicines. There is a shortage of ADD and ADHD drugs as the demand increases and even with a good health care plan, these drugs are expensive. ADD and ADHD drugs are also on the controlled substances list as they can be abused, and have a fairly high street value. Luckily, responsible pharmacists keep close track of the prescriptions to make sure that ‘extra’ meds aren’t being sold rather than used by the person they were prescribed for.

The not so obvious financial costs arise from the distraction and ignorance that comes with the disorders. Camping in the back yard is great fun, putting up the tent, air mattresses and other camping gear are wonderful to have but as soon as it is time to bring down the tent and put away the camping gear, the enjoyment factor disappears. Thus the camping gear is left out to fend for itself, leading to ruined gear and tents. Next year, more gear will be bought and the cycle begins again. It isn’t an intentional thing, rather simply the inevitable for someone with ADD or ADHD.

Ideally, for every adult with a diagnosis or ADD or ADHD, there would be a support person assigned. Not to nurse maid or clean up after the sufferer, but to point out what needs to be dealt with next, to help organise tasks, to keep the person on track and to provide support when needed. This, more than pharmaceuticals, would help those with the disorders stay out of the red financially, and that is something everyone can appreciate.

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