The Cost of Your Disorder

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In a 2011 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of almost 100,000 parents, it was determined that 1 out of every 10 children in the United States has been diagnosed with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. That is 11% of the population, or a whopping 6.5 million American children.

The symptomology of the condition include a lack of focus and attention as well as difficulty controlling impassivity. The disorder which is most commonly treated by a combination of therapy and medication and most prevalent in children aged 4 through 17. Much of the time, the disorder is first recognized in a school setting around the age of six when children are first expected to sit still for structured periods of time in which their focus is required.

The Centers for Disease Control reports the diagnosis of ADHD to be on a continuous rise since the late 1990s. This is the first time the rate of increase for diagnosing the disorder has dropped.
How does a disorder that the average parent never even hear of when Americans thought television shows like “Leave it to Beaver” and “Dennis the Menace” were first introduced and seen as funny, become so widespread and prevalent?

Experts agree it is due to two major factors:
* More parents know about it
* More physicians are looking for it

Let’s cut to the chase. This knowledge that parents and physicians have gained with the prevalence of the disorder converts to somewhere in the range of $12,005 and $17,458 per individual depending on variables such as mental health costs, juvenile justice costs and missed days of work; in 2005 dollars.

The report concludes (with preliminary estimates due to incomplete literature) of a societal cost of illness (COI) to average $42.5 billion annually, or a range of $36 billion and $52.4 billion.

Fortunately, I have not been diagnosed with ADHD, however, I am a licensed social worker with a heart a mile wide and just as deep. But I can’t wrap my brain around numbers like that toward just one mental health disorder that we see absolutely no signs of ‘curing.’

Not when we have so many disorders and so little health care to go around.

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