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Subscriptions and ADHD

You name it, and there’s probably a subscription for it. From skulls to hot sauce, the rise of subscription boxes has ensured that you can get whatever you’re interested in delivered to your doorstep every month.

But what I really need is a subscription that keeps reminding me to cancel my unwanted subscriptions.

SubscribeYou know how companies offer one month “free trials” and then hope that you’ll forget to cancel the subscription before it renews and you have to pay? I’m exactly the kind of sucker those companies have in mind.

My typical inner journey of forgetting to cancel a subscription looks something like this:

  1. That subscription is set to auto-renew in one week. I should cancel it and save myself $15 since I don’t use it anymore.
  2. Well, it doesn’t auto-renew for a week. I’ll cancel it later.
  3. (*Two weeks later*) Ah, I forgot to cancel that subscription.

Actually, it occurs to me that a lucrative if unethical idea would be a subscription box for ADHDers. It doesn’t even have to provide anything useful because a lot of the subscribers, like yours truly, would probably never get around to bringing down the axe on their subscriptions!

This process of repeatedly not getting around to doing something and procrastinating far beyond any sense of financial reason is familiar to many ADHDers. It’s why I still haven’t cleaned my desk. It’s why I used run up triple-digit library fines. “Used to” not because I’ve changed my ways, but because my local library ultimately gave up and did away with fines altogether – yay! (Actually, there are some pretty good reasons libraries have been eliminating overdue fines, but I digress.)

People sometimes talk about the “ADHD tax,” the various expenses that add up to make having ADHD a costly proposition. These can range from medical and insurance costs to impulsive spending to missed credit card payments. So I guess I can chalk the unwanted subscription renewals up as a small portion of my annual ADHD tax.

When you think about it, having ADHD is in a way like being involuntarily signed up for the mother of all screwed-up subscription boxes. Every month it brings new surprises while costing you money, and there’s no way to unsubscribe!

Image: Flickr/Cindy Schultz

Subscriptions and ADHD

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on psychology, ADHD and education. In addition to ADHD Millennial, he writes about psychology at Psych Central's AllPsych blog and about ADHD at He can be found on Twitter at @ADaptHD_blog

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2020). Subscriptions and ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Jan 2020
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