Tips To Find A Local ADHD Psychiatrist

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated June 16, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects millions of children and adults worldwide. While there is no cure, an effective treatment plan may help individuals manage the symptoms so they don’t have such an overwhelming impact on daily life and relationships. Learn how to find a local ADHD psychiatrist and other specialists to receive support in managing the disorder.  
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Do you need help finding an ADHD psychiatrist in your area?

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and form of neurodivergence typically presenting through inattentive, impulsive, or hyperactive characteristics. Symptoms begin in childhood and continue throughout life. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), people with ADHD may have trouble with focus, organization, realistic planning, thinking before acting or speaking, adapting to changes in a new situation, being noisy, fidgeting, defiance, aggression, and social ineptitude. 

Behavioral therapy, medication management, and other treatments

Treatment for ADHD typically consists of therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Behavioral therapy may alleviate the mental, practical, and behavioral challenges of ADHD. A therapist can help clients develop useful organizational skills, provide them with emotional support, and work with them to address any comorbid mental health disorders. Medication may also be recommended by an individual’s doctor for symptom relief, potentially improving focus, emotional control, and other concerns. Consult a healthcare professional prior to starting, changing, or stopping any medication.

Whether you’re looking for adult ADHD treatment, parent training and therapy, or help for your child, finding a specialist may seem overwhelming. However, with an idea of what you need and some research, finding the right ADHD mental health professional may be easier than you think. To start, you can discuss your concerns with your doctor to see if you or your child may benefit from getting psychoanalysis testing. They may conduct an evaluation, which may include a medical exam to rule out other causes and a series of tests to determine if ADHD is present.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed, knowing which ADHD subtype you’re dealing with may help you start searching for a psychiatry specialist. You may also have an informed knowledge base for the services you need by this point in the process. If not, it can be helpful to educate yourself about ADHD

Below are some ADHD subtypes to consider when looking for a specialist.

  • Predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI): Symptoms center on inattention.
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-HI): Symptoms center on hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Combined: Symptoms involve inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

ADHD specialties

You’ve got a diagnosis and know the ADHD subtype by now, so who do you talk to next? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), various professionals have specialized credentials and experience to support clients with ADHD. Depending on your needs, you might see one of the following ADHD specialists.

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Pediatrician

Your child’s pediatrician is a specialist in children’s and adolescents’ health and may be able to provide medical treatment for ADHD. However, ADHD may also require additional services. In those cases, your pediatrician may refer you to the appropriate professional. 

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication and provide therapy.

For some people with ADHD, a psychiatrist can be an integral part of the treatment team. These professionals can help you manage symptoms, develop coping skills, and learn to identify and process emotions and behavior patterns through therapy.

Psychologist

Psychologists hold doctoral degrees but are not medical doctors. They can provide a variety of therapy treatments but cannot prescribe medication. Psychologists can help you learn to cope with and manage ADHD symptoms. 

ADHD coach

An ADHD coach is trained to help people with the disorder learn to manage daily life so they can work toward their goals. A coach can offer guidance and support while helping you or your child stay on track toward your desired objectives. However, a coach is not a doctor or therapist and is not qualified to offer medical or mental health advice. 

Counselors, clinicians, and therapists

These mental health professionals have a masters-level education and can provide various therapy treatments to help clients manage ADHD symptoms and stress.

Pediatric neurologist

Neurologists specialize in brain disorders commonly seen in children. These doctors may diagnose and address how ADHD affects brain function but may refer you to another specialist for treatment.

Psychiatric nurse practitioner

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are professionals who can evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients. Though most nursing professionals have not completed medical school, nurse practitioners may be able to prescribe medication when providing psychiatric care. 

Other professionals who treat ADHD

Below are some other mental and physical health professionals who may be able to help you manage the symptoms of ADHD: 

  • Family physicians
  • Social workers
  • Case managers 

Where should you look for ADHD treatment?

Some communities may not have a local ADHD treatment provider, and those needing treatment may have to drive an hour or more to receive care. In such situations, online therapy may be a more accessible option. It can be important to find a specialist with experience in your needs to develop a tailored treatment approach. 

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) recommends starting with your health insurance company’s website to find a list of providers that you might consider for treatment who would be covered by your plan. If you do not have health insurance, it may be helpful to check with local and state mental health services or clinics and health departments to learn about reduced-cost programs or sliding pay scales. 

Tips for finding an ADHD psychiatrist

In addition to the capacity to provide therapy and prescribe medications, psychiatrists can also diagnose and treat any concurrent psychiatric disorders you or your child may be experiencing, often with specialized training on how ADHD can affect comorbidities and mental conditions in children, adolescents, and adults.

Medical professionals may recommend psychiatrists for diagnosing and treating ADHD in adults, according to CHADD. Adult ADHD symptoms can align with the symptoms of other mental health conditions, such as mood disorders or anxiety disorders. CHADD experts suggest a psychiatrist for people who experience ADHD comorbid psychiatric conditions. However, if you have more than one person requiring treatment, you may benefit from seeing separate psychiatrists to comply with industry standards that prevent providing care for more than one family member.

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Do you need help finding an ADHD psychiatrist in your area?

Find the right fit and build a trusting relationship

Often, finding successful therapy can mean building a trusting relationship between the psychiatrist and the patient. While searching for an ADHD psychiatrist, look for a provider who understands and has experience treating the disorder. However, also try to look for someone who you are comfortable with who shows a genuine effort to understand you and your individual situation, allowing you to trust them and build a strong relationship over time. 

There’s nothing wrong with telling a doctor that you don’t believe they are a good fit and are looking for someone who is a better match. They may be able to recommend a colleague for you to contact. 

Research a professional’s experience treating mental health disorders

Not all providers have the same experience treating ADHD, so ask them about their specialties when you meet. You may discuss a professional’s experience working with clients who have ADHD presentations similar to yours. Maintaining a long-term relationship with your ADHD psychiatrist may increase effectiveness as you learn to place more trust in your therapist and the therapeutic process. 

Search online registries to find local options

If local in-person consultation isn’t an option or doesn’t sound appealing, the internet provides mental health resources, from online directories of board-certified ADHD care providers to online therapy platforms that allow you to receive therapy from the comfort and convenience of your own home. 

Some registries you may consider consulting include: 

  • CHADD Doctor Directory
  • American Medical Association
  • The US Center for Mental Health Services
  • CHADD Hospital and University ADHD Center Directory
  • Local hospitals or universities 
  • Online therapy platforms 

How therapy can treat ADHD

Treatment for ADHD often includes therapy for your child, but several varieties are geared toward parents. You can work with a licensed therapist online through virtual therapy providers like BetterHelp to learn parenting and communication skills and coping strategies to help your child manage their ADHD symptoms, as well as receive support for challenges like stress, anxiety, or other health issues. 

According to recent research, online therapy, such as parent training or parent-child intervention therapy, can be as effective as traditional face-to-face treatment options. Some parents may find that the ability to receive treatment at home is a convenience and makes regular therapy attendance easier.

Takeaway

ADHD can have a substantial effect on the lives of you and your child. Assembling a team of trusted professionals to contribute to a comprehensive treatment plan can be a step toward effective support. The information presented in this article may help you smooth the process of finding an ADHD psychiatrist.

Gain a better understanding of ADHD
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