Adults With ADHD Miss More Workdays
Study Measures Impact on Productivity Among Workers With ADHD
WebMD News Archive
Adults With ADHD: The Time Loss
Overall, Kessler says, those with ADHD, compared with workers without the
condition, put in 22.1 fewer days a year -- nearly a month's worth of workdays.
About eight of those days were completely lost because they didn't work or
didn't carry out normal activities. The other 14 days had low productivity,
where the quantity or the quality of the work suffered, Kessler says.
"People with ADHD have more sick days and lower performance when they
work," Kessler tells WebMD. "This is one of those hidden illnesses in
Adults With ADHD
The problem of ADHD in the workplace, until now, has not been investigated
much, says James T. McCracken, MD, vice chairman of the department of
psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California Los
Angeles Semel Institute and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.
"Overall [the study] raises a really important issue," he says.
"It takes a look at an aspect of adult ADHD that until now has been not
that well quantified -- the work impact."
The numbers obtained by the researchers make sense, he says, from what he
has observed with patients.
"The finding that one month a year is lost is very significant from a
productivity standpoint," says Thomas Parry, PhD, president of the
Integrated Benefits Institute, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization
that conducts research on workplace health and productivity.
Parry is working with Kessler to develop tools to better measure ADHD in the
Advice for Adults With Possible ADHD
Workers who have trouble concentrating and focusing, Kessler says, should
bring it up with their primary care doctor. "It's worth talking to your
doctor because you don't have to live like this."
McCracken agrees, noting that medication can help. Behavioral
therapy that addresses key problem areas such as poor organization have been
shown to help, too, he says.
The WHO Mental Health Survey Initiative is supported by the U.S. National
Institute of Mental Health, other public health organizations, pharmaceutical
companies, and other sources. The preparation of the current report was
partially supported by Eli Lilly and Co., which makes an ADHD drug, as well as
other survey initiative supporters. Lilly had no role in the study design,
results, or analysis.