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Employees with ADHD Aren’t Reaching Their Full Potential at Work, Akili Study Finds

Respondents struggle with routine tasks, career setbacks, and limited treatment options; meanwhile, managers feel unprepared to provide support

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Akili, Inc. (Nasdaq: AKLI), the leading digital medicine company behind EndeavorOTC™, today released results from a new study examining the ways in which ADHD impacts the U.S. workforce. Akili engaged Wakefield Research to survey 500 employees with ADHD to better understand the experience of working with ADHD, as well as 500 managers to explore how prepared workplaces are to support employees with ADHD.




The study found that nearly all employees with ADHD (97%) think they would be capable of accomplishing more if they could better manage their symptoms. Employees pointed to several ways their ADHD poses challenges, including:

  • Struggling with routine tasks: 2 in 3 employees (65%) agreed that accomplishing day-to-day work tasks while managing their symptoms poses a moderate to significant challenge. Respondents cited several struggles they commonly face, including being easily distracted (59%) and lack of focus and engagement (56%).
  • Facing emotional and social impacts: Challenges with ADHD at work aren’t just related to attention. Social and emotional issues also come into play, with respondents reporting heightened emotions or sensitivity to rejection or criticism (37%), impulsive decision-making (35%), and difficulty building relationships with colleagues (32%).
  • Dealing with career setbacks: Most employees (87%) believe ADHD has contributed to negative career events, including receiving a negative performance evaluation (39%), being passed over for a promotion (37%), or having core responsibilities taken away (27%), all of which can slow down career trajectory.
  • Coping with resulting mental health issues: Difficulty managing ADHD symptoms at work caused a majority of respondents (71%) to feel anxious. Employees also reported feeling unmotivated (44%), depressed (40%), defeated (35%), and hopeless (31%).
  • Worrying about stigma amongst their colleagues: Almost all (92%) are concerned about what would happen if their co-workers learned about their condition, indicating fears about having their ADHD dismissed or minimized (45%), receiving unsolicited advice (43%), having co-workers act awkward around them (41%), or being ridiculed (27%).

Despite the many ways that ADHD can affect an employee’s success and well-being at work, care options are drastically limited.

  • Most employees are trying to manage their symptoms, but aren’t seeing results: 94% of respondents confirmed that they use treatments or methods to address their ADHD. However, of the 94% of respondents who confirmed that they use treatments or methods to address their ADHD, most (78%) would still need more support to reach their full potential at work.
  • There simply aren’t enough treatment options for ADHD: 95% of employees feel limited by the number of treatment options available to them, and 88% confirmed that they’ve been directly impacted by the ongoing stimulant medication shortage.

With so many employees with ADHD expressing how difficult it can be to manage their symptoms at work, it’s vital that employers provide appropriate accommodations and support systems. However, Akili’s study found that there is a significant gap between managers’ level of familiarity with ADHD and their ability to adequately support an employee who discloses their diagnosis.

  • Managers understand that ADHD can significantly impact someone’s work life: Most managers (83%) are very or extremely familiar with ADHD, and more than half (54%) recognize that it would present a moderate to significant challenge for their employees in executing day-to-day work tasks.
  • However, managers aren’t sure what to do if an employee tells them they have ADHD: More than half (59%) expressed that they wouldn’t feel completely prepared to appropriately respond if one of their employees disclosed their diagnosis to them.
  • Managers hold on to biases about ADHD: Nearly all (92%) employees believe that misconceptions about ADHD exist at their workplace, and that fear is not irrational. More than 9 in 10 managers (93%) would have concerns about an employee who disclosed their ADHD diagnosis, including their ability to handle complex assignments (56%) or do the job at all (45%).

The study found that employees are willing and eager to work with their leaders on how best to manage symptoms in order to feel more successful. When managers and employees are on the same page, it helps folks with ADHD receive the support and understanding they need.

  • Employees want their managers to know they have ADHD: Most employees (85%) have disclosed their ADHD diagnosis to a supervisor, and the majority of them (79%) are happy with their choice.
  • Employees are looking for support and resources from their managers: In sharing their diagnosis, employees are looking for acceptance of how their work style may be different from that of their colleagues (55%); better awareness of how their supervisor can support them (54%); and discussions about where and why they struggle with some tasks (44%). They also want to better understand the medical benefits specific to their condition (30%) and the workplace resources (24%) that are available to them.
  • Understanding is the most important benefit: more than 9 out of 10 employees (93%) said that having a supervisor who knows how to support and work with them is more valuable than any other office benefit or perk.

“ADHD impacts an estimated 11 million adults in the U.S., meaning that it’s inevitably prevalent across the workforce. However, our study highlights the lack of access to care for this condition, and it plainly shows that people are struggling at work because of it,” said Scott Kollins, Chief Medical Officer of Akili. “97% of the study’s employee respondents felt that they could accomplish more at work if they could better manage their symptoms. This overwhelming majority makes it clear that we need to rethink treatment, resources, and understanding across the board.”

Earlier this year, Akili released EndeavorOTC, a game-based ADHD treatment for adults, built with technology from the world’s first FDA-authorized video game treatment for pediatric patients with ADHD, EndeavorRx. EndeavorOTC has been clinically proven to improve attention and focus in adults with ADHD. The treatment is available on Android’s Google Play™ and Apple’s iOS App Store®, providing an accessible treatment option for American adults living with ADHD. A more comprehensive look at the data can be found at https://www.akiliinteractive.com/workplacesurvey.

Methodology

The Akili Employee Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 500 currently employed U.S. adults (49% female; 50% male; 1% non-binary) who have been diagnosed with ADHD, across a range of employers, between August 28th and September 6th, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. Participants were required to attest to having been diagnosed with ADHD by a professional and were recruited from across the U.S.

The Akili Managers Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 500 U.S. managers (40% female; 60% male), across a range of employers, between August 28th and September 6th, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. Participants were recruited from across the U.S.

All participants provided written informed consent. Participants were compensated at fair market value. All data collected were de-identified, and only aggregate data were analyzed and presented.

About EndeavorOTC and EndeavorRx

Akili’s suite of cognitive treatment products for ADHD includes EndeavorOTC and EndeavorRx.

EndeavorOTC is a digital therapeutic indicated to improve attention function, ADHD symptoms and quality of life in adults 18 years of age and older with primarily inattentive or combined-type ADHD. EndeavorOTC utilizes the same proprietary technology underlying EndeavorRx, a prescription digital therapeutic indicated to improve attention function in children ages 8-12. EndeavorOTC is available under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current Enforcement Policy for Digital Health Devices for Treating Psychiatric Disorders During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. EndeavorOTC has not been cleared or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for any indications. It is recommended that patients speak to their health care provider before starting EndeavorOTC treatment. No serious adverse events have been reported in any of our clinical studies. To learn more, visit EndeavorOTC.com.

EndeavorRx is indicated to improve attention function as measured by computer-based testing in children ages 8 to 12 years old with primarily inattentive or combined-type ADHD, who have a demonstrated attention issue. Patients who engage with EndeavorRx demonstrate improvements in a digitally assessed measure Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA®) of sustained and selective attention and may not display benefits in typical behavioral symptoms, such as hyperactivity. EndeavorRx should be considered for use as part of a therapeutic program that may include clinician-directed therapy, medication and/or educational programs, which further address symptoms of the disorder. EndeavorRx is available by prescription only. It is not intended to be used as a stand-alone therapeutic and is not a substitution for a child’s medication. The most common side effect observed in children in EndeavorRx’s clinical trials was a feeling of frustration, as the game can be quite challenging at times. No serious adverse events were associated with its use. EndeavorRx is recommended to be used for approximately 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week, over initially at least 4 consecutive weeks, or as recommended by your child’s health care provider. To learn more about EndeavorRx, please visit EndeavorRx.com.

About Akili

Akili is pioneering the development of cognitive treatments through game-changing technologies. Akili’s approach of leveraging technologies designed to directly target the brain establishes a new category of medicine – medicine that is validated through clinical trials like a drug or medical device, but experienced like entertainment. Akili’s platform is powered by proprietary therapeutic engines designed to target cognitive impairment at its source in the brain, informed by decades of research and validated through rigorous clinical programs. Driven by Akili’s belief that effective medicine can also be fun and engaging, Akili’s products are delivered through captivating action video game experiences. For more information, please visit www.akiliinteractive.com.

Contacts

Caty Reid

VP, Marketing & Communications

PR@akiliinteractive.com

Staff

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