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The social and economic costs of ADHD in Australia

$20 billion: the high cost of ADHD

Deloitte Access Economics was commissioned by the Australian ADHD Professionals Association to estimate the socioeconomic cost of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Australia.

ADHD is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder, and it is characterised by symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and in some cases excessive levels of hyperactivity. ADHD can have lifelong impacts on individuals, their families and society, although early diagnosis and quality treatment can improve individual outcomes substantially.

In this report, evidence has been presented to demonstrate the burden of ADHD in Australia, including on health system, productivity and carer costs, other financial costs and quality of life.

The key findings include:

  • ADHD affects approximately 281,200 children and adolescents (aged 0-19) and 533,300 adults (aged 20+) in Australia. Prevalence is highest during childhood and declines with age.
  • The total cost of ADHD in Australia was estimated to be $20.4 billion, which comprised $12.8 billion in financial costs and $7.6 billion in wellbeing costs.
  • Productivity costs resulting from reduced workforce participation, absences from work and reduced productivity while at work make up 81% of total financial costs. The remaining financial costs include deadweight losses (11%), health system costs (6%) and other costs (e.g. justice system costs or education costs).

The evidence in this report suggests there is a continued need to raise awareness of the socioeconomic burden of ADHD in Australia and educate and inform key stakeholders including individuals, education systems, workplaces, and society in an attempt to reduce the burden and lifelong impact that ADHD may have.

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