People with ADHD who are out in the workforce perform 22.1 fewer days of work every year —a compilation of 8.4 days when they were unable to work.
People with ADHD who are out in the workforce perform 22.1 fewer days of work every year —a compilation of 8.4 days when they were unable to work or carry out their normal activities, 21.7 days of reduced work quantity, and 13.6 days of reduced work quality—than those without the disorder, according to study results published earlier this week at the online home of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The results were obtained from 7,000 employed and self-employed workers age 18-44 years who were screened for ADHD and asked about their work performance in the previous month.
The missed days aren’t just affecting adults with ADHD and their employers; the loss of productivity affects all of us. Consider this:
So, with these statistics, that’s 74,831,497 children in the US; 3,741,575 US children afflicted with ADHD; and 2,244,945 adults with ADHD symptoms. Multiply in the average 22.1 days of lost work for each adult with ADHD, and that’s 49,613,282 days—or 396,906,256 hours (based on an 8-hour work day)—of lost productivity per year in the US! In fact, the loss of productivity is so extensive that researchers are recommending that it would be more cost effective for employers to screen staff for ADHD and provide those who are diagnosed with the condition with the necessary treatment.
The Physician’s Role
The drastic effects ADHD can have on an adults patients’ quality of life underscore the need for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment of this condition, which means physicians need to stay up to date with the latest practice parameters, diagnosis guidelines, and guiding principles covering ADHD in adults.
The signs certainly point to a lack of awareness of adult ADHD among US physicians; the authors of a 2006 Harvard study stated that “adult ADHD symptoms often coexist with other mental and emotional disorders, such as depression or anxiety,” and “that because ADHD assessments have been traditionally targeted to children, ADHD is difficult to diagnose in adults.” They added that the symptoms tend to be more varied and subtler in adults than in children, suggesting that clinicians may need to consider a wider variety of possible symptoms for the condition to allow for better assessment in adults.”
Thus, a careful and comprehensive clinical evaluation of an adult patient suspected of having ADHD is key. To do so, the following tools may prove helpful: