Social and Economic Costs of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Across the Lifespan

Emma Sciberras*, Jared Streatfeild, Tristan Ceccato, Lynne Pezzullo, James G. Scott, Christel M. Middeldorp, Paul Hutchins, Roger Paterson, Mark A. Bellgrove, David Coghill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To determine the financial and non-financial costs of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) across the lifespan. Method: The population costs of ADHD in Australia were estimated for the financial year 2018 to 2019 using a prevalence approach to cost estimation across all ages. Financial (healthcare, productivity, education and justice systems, and deadweight losses) and non-financial costs were measured (Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)). Results: The total social and economic cost of ADHD in 2018 to 2019 were US$12.76 billion (range US$8.40 billion to US$17.44 billion, with per person costs of US$15,664 per year). Productivity costs made up 81% of the total financial costs, followed by deadweight losses (11%), and health system costs (4%). Loss in terms of wellbeing was significant (US$5.31 billion). Conclusion: There is a need to raise public awareness of the considerable socioeconomic impact and burden of ADHD in order to drive investment and policy decisions that improve identification and treatment of ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-87
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of attention disorders
Issue number1
Early online date13 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was funded through the Australian Government under the Department of Health Mental Health program awarded to the Australian ADHD Professionals Association. ES is funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship (NHMRC) (1110688) and a veski Inspiring Women’s Fellowship. MAB is supported by a NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (Level B) Funding sources did not have a role in analysis or interpretation of data.

Funding Information:
The author(s) declared the following potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Outside the submitted work, ES receives royalties for her published book ‘Sleep and ADHD: An evidence-based guide to assessment and treatment’, received honoraria for presentations in 2018 and 2019 at the National Education Summit, Australia, and was an invited speaker at the 7 World Congress on ADHD 2019 with partial travel costs covered. CMM was an invited speaker at the 2019 RANZCP meeting in Cairns, travel, accommodation and registration costs covered, outside the published work. RP reports travel support to attend educational meetings from Shire/Takeda and support for educational meetings from Servier, Teva, and Lundbeck, outside the submitted work. MB reports personal fees and travel support funding from Shire Pharmaceuticals, outside the submitted work. DC reports grants and personal fees from Shire/Takeda, personal fees from Medice, personal fees from Oxford University Press, personal fees from Servier, outside the submitted work. JS, LP, TC and JS have no financial conflicts to declare. ES, CMM, PH, RP, MAB and DC are all elected board members of the Australian ADHD Professionals Association. th

Publisher Copyright:
© ©The Author(s) 2020.


  • ADHD
  • costs
  • economic
  • education
  • health care
  • justice
  • wellbeing


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