Annual autism costs in the U.S. have more than tripled since 2006 and University of California, Davis health economists estimate that if autism prevalence continues to increase as it has in recent years, costs could reach $1 trillion by 2025.
In a stunning report in 2016, the CDC’s National Survey of Children’s Health “found that 1 out of 7 U.S. children aged 2 to 8 years were reported to have a diagnosed mental, behavioural or developmental disorder.” Currently, there is an acute lack of reliable information, inconsistent services, inadequate resources, a disturbing pattern of ineffective and delayed diagnosis, inappropriate treatments, a lack of proper and credible research and ineffective service delivery models available to affected individuals and their families. Reflecting this, “Autism” remains classified as a developmental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or the DSM-V and more than $1 billion dollars have been spent on genetics research, even though it is scientifically impossible for a developmental or genetic condition to reach epidemic numbers.
Approximately 11% of American children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011 and that number is increasing rapidly. Total health care costs for dementia now exceed US$604 billion, or 1.0 % of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Anxiety and mood disorders are crippling our quality of life as depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 350 million people.
1 in 45 children are now on the autism spectrum and it costs twice as much to educate a child who has a learning or developmental disability as it costs for a child who does not. The staggering economic costs associated with brain disorders are unsustainable for any system and can only effectively be addressed by real efforts to understand, define and open this expanding pandemic to our medical experts.