That "ADHD tax" is something you have to learn to live with. However, the right strategies can help you deal with these strategies more effectively so you can avoid paying such a high "tax" for your ADHD.

What Does "ADHD Tax" Mean?

The ADHD tax mainly refers to the money-related challenges that come with having this condition. After all, it's a health issue that will never go away or be cured, so it's inevitable that ADHD care will cause some sort of financial drain over time.

In addition, there is also the emotional tax of ADHD to consider. ADHD can cause feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, anger, and self-loathing. That doesn't mean everyone with ADHD feels this way all the time. However, the struggles associated with ADHD can make them more likely to pay these types of emotional costs. In addition, ADHD can cause friction in relationships.

Financial Costs of ADHD

The costs of ADHD can add up quickly. First, there are the direct costs you incur as a part of your ADHD diagnosis, treatment, and care. That includes doctor's appointments, prescription medications, and therapy.

One study found that the healthcare costs of ADHD in children and adolescents ranges from about $12,000 to $17,500 per person each year. As for adults with ADHD, annual healthcare costs were around $4,920 to $5,650, while the average annual healthcare costs for other adults was only about $1,470 to $2,770.

While these types of expenses are pretty clear, there are also hidden costs in the ADHD tax. These costs are generally associated with the symptoms of ADHD and how they impact someone's life on a day-to-day basis.

Here are some examples of other "taxes" that an individual may have to pay due to the symptoms of their ADHD:

  • Disorganization: They lose track of a bill and forget to pay it on time, resulting in a costly late fee.
  • Impulsivity: They make impulse purchases in the moment, which can lead to racking up significant credit card debt over time.
  • Poor working memory: They forget to cancel a free trial and end up paying for a monthly or annual subscription.

Unfortunately, there can be ripple effects that stem from financial mistakes like these. For example, missing bill payments and crushing credit card debt can negatively affect someone's credit score. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to find financing when you need it (like buying a car or home) and can lead to higher interest rates.

Emotional Costs of ADHD

ADHD can take a toll on you emotionally, which is the other factor in the ADHD tax. It's not just your finances that can suffer. It's also your self-confidence and your relationships.

For example, many people with ADHD struggle with low self-esteem. Those with ADHD may be hard on themselves for mistakes they make due to their symptoms, like missing a deadline at work or losing important belongings. At the same time, many people face ADHD stigma, which can make them feel less worthy of respect from others.

Relationships can also suffer due to ADHD. People with the condition may be more impulsive or struggle with emotional regulation, which can cause them to do or say things they later regret. Problems with disorganization and time management can also become frustrating for the partner of someone with ADHD, especially if they feel like they're always picking up the slack.

How to Minimize Your ADHD Tax Burden

Recognizing the way ADHD creates added costs in your life is the first step to reducing your ADHD tax burden. Next, it's time to tackle the problems head on and be proactive in minimizing the effects.

When it comes to your finances, consider working with a professional who can help you form a budget and create specific goals. Identify your biggest money problems and find ways to address them. For example, impulsive buyers could use a cash envelope system rather than a credit card to control their spending. Someone who struggles with making bill payments on time can switch to automated payments.

To deal with relationship issues, start by being open and honest with your loved ones. Acknowledge the ways in which your ADHD has created challenges and ask them to support you as you try to overcome them. Therapy for couples or families can be very helpful in facilitating these conversations and coming up with actionable solutions.

Ultimately, one of the most impactful ways to minimize the ADHD tax is to find the right treatment plan for you. ADHD medications are incredibly effective at helping people manage their symptoms. Therapy, mindfulness, and other wellness habits can also help with symptom management.

If you want to get started with an ADHD diagnosis or treatment, Done can help. Start by taking our simple online ADHD assessment today.