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Prescribing with Care

Your Adult ADHD and Mood Disorders Psychiatrist in San Antonio, TX

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Paying the "ADHD Tax"

No joke--getting care for your ADHD can be expensive. But did you consider what your untreated ADHD might be costing you? The community calls this the ADHD tax, and it might surprise you how the unseen expenses can creep up on you.


The obvious causes of increased expenses would be things like late fees on credit card payments and utility bills. Over the long haul, these could even affect your credit score, leading to higher interest rates if you are looking to buy a high dollar item like a car or a house.


But how about your impulsivity? New hobby? I have patients who get into, for example, bass fishing, and suddenly they just "gotta have" rods, reels, maybe even a boat and trailer, and start spending money on trip guides. Not to mention that in a few months, they're bored, so they don't go fishing any more--but still have to pay those storage fees.


New menu at your fave restaurant? Need it now? It's really easy to order Uber Eats or DoorDash, despite the fact that it's WAY more expensive than just going to pick it up yourself. But that ADHD impulsivity kicks in, and suddenly we're clicking away on the app.


Unplanned grocery shopping is a problem too. While picking up glass cleaner (and really intending to just grab that), those organic green grapes suddenly look pretty good (at $5 a pound), and of course we need that treat in the checkout aisle, so we spend about triple what we intended. And, out of distraction, we then let those grapes go bad in the fridge, so we end up throwing them away anyway.


I really think people pleasing costs folks with ADHD too. We don't want to upset anyone, so we won't ask for a discount, or push back on that handyman who wants to charge us extra or the salesperson from the kiosk who wants to sell us sunglasses. All these add up too.


To counter all these, of course structure is really important.


MAKE A MONTHLY BUDGET, literally writing down how much money you have coming in every month and how much has to go out, is super helpful. Every dollar in your bank account should have a name (like "electric bill" or "car payment" or (fill in the blank with your creative hobby), and put in some wiggle room so you can satisfy that impulsive itch.


MAKE AUTOMATED PAYMENTS, but be sure to record those on your budget. Overdraft fees suck!


SET ONE HOUR OF ONE DAY EVERY MONTH to look at your overall financial picture--short term (like immediate bill payments) and longer term (one year, five year, ten year goals). A financial advisor might be helpful, you can find some that just charge by the hour to help you get a grasp on debt and/or your financial future.


TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS if you need to about your concerns. It's such a common thing, and you all may be able to come up with ways together to have fun but still be budget-friendly!




DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP. We've all done it--paid some ADHD tax. We just don' t want to keep giving away money when it's pretty easily corrected.

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