ADHD costs workplaces up to $11 billion a year in lost productivity: Study

Individuals with ADHD have longer periods of unemployment, earn considerably less
||Last Updated: 10/15/2013

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a far-reaching impact on the Canadian economy — and on the workplace, a new study found.

The condition leads to greatly increased socio-economic costs as well as a financial burden on healthcare, education, labour, social services and the justice system, according to the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada (CADDAC) study.

Canada loses an estimated $6 billion to $11 billion each year as a result of lost workplace productivity due to ADHD. Individuals who suffer from the condition are more likely to face longer periods of unemployment, enter the workforce as unskilled or semi-skilled workers, and earn significantly less over their lifetimes.

The report also found a direct correlation between ADHD and increasing healthcare and social services costs.

"What we need to know is that the continued misinformation and undeserved stigma that haunts ADHD increases the continuing costs that under diagnosis and under treatment fuel," says Heidi Bernhardt, president and executive director at CADDAC.

"The fiscal impact of this prevalent and impairing neurodevelopmental condition (ADHD) is largely attributable to the lower educational attainment in this population, which increases the risk for a lifetime of decreased quality of life, increased health problems and reduced earnings, and hence increased societal costs,” said Rosemary Tannock, professor emeritus, special education, at the University of Toronto and senior scientist, neuroscience and mental health research program at the Hospital for Sick Children.

“National and provincial investment in educational intervention in ADHD that allows more youngsters with ADHD to achieve their educational potential will improve their quality of life and societal contributions, thereby yielding a positive rate of return.”

ADHD is widely under-diagnosed and under-recognized, with estimates that up to 90 per cent of adults with the disorder remain untreated.

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