ADHD is a very real issue in the U.S. However, recent studies have suggested that as many as 1 in 5 children are misdiagnosed with ADHD, which is a greater population of people than the entire state of Alaska.
In the video below by 12 Keys Rehab, the costs of living in an ADHD nation are explained more in depth.
In the last 10 years, there has been a 41% increase in the number of ADHD diagnoses. In the last 7 years, there has been a 28% increase in the number of children taking medicine to treat ADHD. However, research suggests that ADHD diagnoses may be influenced by factors other than a child having ADHD.
For example, the youngest kindergarteners are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than older kindergarteners. This discrepancy depends on when the cutoff date is set for parents to enroll their children in kindergarten. The higher diagnosis of ADHD in younger children suggests that lack of maturity and less experience in a formal school setting get misinterpreted as symptoms of ADHD, causing misdiagnoses.
Video Graphic by 12 Keys Rehab
On average, the annual cost for ADHD stimulant medications range from $1.6 to $2.5 billion. When you account for the roughly 20% of children who are taking these medications because of a misdiagnosis, it’s projected that between $320 and $500 million are wasted each year.
Furthermore, supposing the misdiagnosis of ADHD goes unchallenged throughout the child’s youth, the cost for a family to provide ADHD medication for the child would be approximately $17,314. This figure is calculated based on the estimated $1,574 it costs to provide ADHD medication for one child over the course of 11 years.
While the accurate diagnosis of ADHD can be very helpful for children who suffer from this issue, the wrongful diagnosis of ADHD can have lasting economic, health and emotional consequences for children.