Adult ADHD victims suffer an average of $10,000 a year in lost income, adding up to a staggering $77 billion annually on the national level, researchers say.
The higher the job level, the greater the hit: Professionals with postgraduate degrees lose nearly $40,000 a year, the study shows.
Once thought of as a disease of childhood, more than 8 million adults, or 4.3% of American adults, suffer from ADHD, says Joseph Biederman, MD, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Reporting here at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Biederman blames the same symptoms that cause young people with ADHD to perform poorly in school: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. — He describes a downhill spiral, with sufferers going through job after job, relationship after relationship.
"With any work we do, you have to have discipline to have a product," he tells WebMD. "If you're forgetful, fall asleep in meetings, impulsive -- as people with ADHD are -- you're not going to do well."