#ADHDtax – what is this new social media tag about?

ADHD has rapidly become spoken about more and more but I still find that knowledge on the matter is limited with the general population – including our clients who may not even realise they have it without the understanding of what it is. The traditional expectation of a child unable to sit still is far from the whole truth; adults generally become less 'hyper' with age or only have the attention deficit elements anyway.


For me, a starting article discussing just one element known as the 'ADHD tax' on social media made sense, after all, I am also a chartered tax consultant as well as a counsellor! So what does the term bouncing around social media really mean? 

What is the 'ADHD tax'?

Well, it refers to the, sometimes painful, family cost of the disorder in real financial terms.  For me, the following sort of 'extra costs' or 'ADHD tax' came to mind on how they can impact individuals and families with an ADHDer:  

  • Speeding ticket fines due to undiagnosed fast driving chasing the dopamine chemical.
  • Unpaid parking fines from the distraction element of forgetting to get a ticket, not reading the restrictions correctly or forgetting to then pay the fine when it arrives double the 'tax'.
  • Interest on late paid bills as the organisation of finances can be tricky.
  • Impulse purchases of items for hobbies that you get bored of or can't organise to get to regularly anyway.
  • Personal credit card or loan debts from lack of financial organisation.
  • Last-minute planning due to dopamine making early organisation near impossible for some – making plane tickets/hotels etc. more expensive. (Although a bonus sometimes can mean it being cheaper, but the stress involved in family life of last-minute planning doesn't always offset the cost saving.) 
  • Forgetting the healthier food in the fridge and letting it go to waste whilst you perhaps chase the sugar/convenience food or simply had it at the back and forgot about it. Perished food = more cost! 
  • Having items for returning in your car boot so long because you forget about them.  Missing the returns deadline and therefore having items you don't want and also have the cost of replacing them with the right size/type, etc.
  • Unused vouchers as organising to use them on time before they run out is impossible – the shame, if someone else bought you the voucher, means an emotional cost as well as financial.
  • Replacement cost of lost items (not just keys, phone and wallet) but umbrellas, books – anything that can be put down on a train or side when out.
  • Car repairs due to multiple accidents, misjudging spaces and driving fast can equal more scratches and bumps.

These are just a few that have impacted my own personal life living with an ADHDer - perhaps you can think of more and get open discussions going.  The 'tax' has real financial implications for families, can increase stress levels over time and can also create shame and guilt feelings leading potentially to anxiety and depression.

How can counselling help? 

I have the perspective from both sides, both helping the ADHDer and also recognising the impact on the partner. For the ADHDer in counselling, I believe dealing with the shame/guilt feelings along with some practical CBT to look at ways to minimise some of these areas is the key to healthier living – as well as 'acceptance' that some of these things may still continue. For the partner, there is a child/parent dynamic to analyse, the process of the frustration emotions and also looking towards acceptance if you wish to stay in the relationship.

Counselling can certainly aid both parties if they are ready. If you feel like you're ready to start this journey, you can reach out to me today

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Southampton SO16 & Chandlers Ford SO53
Written by Zaenia Rogers
Southampton SO16 & Chandlers Ford SO53

I am an Integrative Counsellor, not specialising just in ADHD, but personal knowledge of living alongside it in my household has meant I've acquired a lot of experience and knowledge and look to pass this on where possible. I have also worked extensively with clients with low self esteem, anxiety and depression.

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