Despite all the creative, crazy, and wonderful quirkiness that I love about ADHD, there are a few tragic things can happen when ADHD is left undiagnosed, untreated, or ineffectively treated. Approximately 9% of school-aged students live with ADHD. Yet ONLY 56% receive treatment for it (this includes natural remedies, behavioral interventions, counseling, etc.)
When ADHD is Untreated
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
- Kids with ADHD have a 32% chance of dropping out. Students without any mental health impairment only have a 15% chance of dropping out.
- About 50% of youth with ADHD get suspended, making them more likely to drop out.
- 47% of incarcerated youth have an ADHD diagnosis.
- 80-90% are significantly behind by the intermediate grades; 15% have learning disabilities (some professionals believe that this is higher).
- More likely to get into auto accidents, DUIs, and speeding tickets
- Youth with ADHD are at higher risk for substance abuse
- Binge drink, overeat, abuse drugs
- Gamble and spend impulsively
- Get traffic violations for speeding, reckless driving, and car accidents
- Drive drunk and get a DUI
- Have employment problems, low job satisfaction, and underachieve
- Get stuck in a low socioeconomic status
- Smoke cigarettes
(Who smokes anymore except Mad Men actors? My gosh).
Just because you’ve got ADHD (or you just found out), doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to a life of gloom and doom.
Dr. Joseph Biederman, psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, stated that ADHD may be one of the most expensive medical conditions in the United States. “Evaluating, diagnosing and treating this condition may not only improve the quality of life, but may save billions of dollars every year.”
Wow. Is ignoring or not treating ADHD worth the gamble?