Estimating the costs of ongoing care for adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013 Feb;48(2):337-44. doi: 10.1007/s00127-012-0530-9. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Purpose: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with increased use of health, social and education services. There is a lack of data to quantify the economic burden of ADHD in the UK. The aim of this study was to estimate additional education, health and social care costs amongst adolescents in the UK diagnosed with ADHD.

Methods: Participants were 143, 12- to 18-year-olds from the Cardiff longitudinal ADHD study. Service use relating to mental health over the previous year was measured using the children's service interview. Individual resource use was combined with unit cost data, from national sources, to calculate costs per patient and subsequently the mean cost per patient. Mean costs, 95% confidence intervals and median use were calculated using nonparametric bootstrapping methods.

Results: The mean cost per adolescent for NHS, social care and education resources used in a 12-month period related to ADHD was £5,493 (£4,415.68, £6,678.61) in 2010 prices and the median was £2,327. Education and NHS resources accounted for approximately 76 and 24%, respectively. Estimated annual total UK costs are £670 million.

Conclusions: The additional costs to the NHS and education system of treating adolescents remain substantial for several years after the initial ADHD diagnosis. There exists a need to develop and evaluate early interventions which have the potential to reduce the longer-term burden, particularly on education resource use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / economics*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy
  • Child
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Education / economics
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Resources / economics*
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United Kingdom