Tips To Find A Local ADHD Psychiatrist
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects millions of children and adults worldwide. While there is no cure, an effective treatment plan can help manage the symptoms of this disorder, so they don’t have such an overwhelming impact on a person’s daily life and relationships. Learn how to find a local ADHD psychiatrist and other specialists to help treat the disorder.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder typically presenting through inattentive, impulsive, or hyperactive characteristics. Symptoms usually begin in childhood and often continue well into adult life for many people. According to the American Psychological Association, people with ADHD may have trouble with focus, organization, realistic planning, thinking before acting or speaking, adapting to changes in the situation, being noisy, fidgeting, defiance, aggression, and social ineptitude.
Determining your ADHD subtype
Whether you’re looking for adult ADHD treatment, parent training and therapy, or help for your child, finding a specialist can feel 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. Start by talking to your doctor to see if you or your child exhibits enough symptoms to proceed with the diagnosis process, which will likely include a medical exam to rule out other causes and a series of tests to determine if ADHD is present.
Once you have a diagnosis, you should know which ADHD subtype you’re dealing with and can 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.
Here are some ADHD subtypes to consider when looking for a specialist.
- Predominantly Inattentive— Symptoms center on inattention.
- Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive— Symptoms center on hyperactivity and impulsivity.
- Combined— Symptoms involve inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
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, various professionals in the mental health field can help you with specialized requirements. Depending on your needs, you may need to see one of the following ADHD specialists.
Your child’s pediatrician is a specialist in children’s and adolescents’ health and should be able to provide treatment for ADHD. ADHD may also require additional services, In those cases, your pediatrician should be able to refer you to the appropriate professional.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication and provide therapy.
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, as well as help with medication management.
An ADHD coach is trained to help people with the disorder learn to manage their symptoms 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.
Counselors, clinicians, and therapists
These mental health professionals have a masters-level education and can provide various therapy treatments to help manage ADHD symptoms and stress.
Neurologists specialize in brain disorders commonly seen in children. They can help you diagnose and address how ADHD affects brain function but will likely refer you to another specialist for treatment.
Other professionals who treat ADHD
Here are some other mental and physical health professionals who can help you manage the symptoms of ADHD.
- Family Physicians
- Social Workers
- Nurse Practitioners
- Licensed Counselors and Therapists
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 becomes a precious 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 costs 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.
Many medical professionals 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 need to see separate psychiatrists to comply with industry standards that prevent providing care for more than one family.
Find the right fit and build a trusting relationship
One of the most crucial aspects of successful therapy is building a trusting relationship between the psychiatrist and the patient.
While searching for an ADHD psychiatrist, it is essential that they understand and have experience treating the disorder, but feeling comfortable with your psychiatrist can be just as important. You should feel like they make 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 feel like they are a good fit and looking for someone who is a better match. They may even be able to recommend a colleague for you to contact.
Research providers and ask questions about their ADHD experience
Not all ADHD specialists will have the same kinds of experience treating the condition, so it’s essential to ask providers about their history when searching for a specialist. Maintaining a long-term relationship with your ADHD psychiatrist can help 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 a treasure trove of 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 U.S. Center for Mental Health Services
- CHADD Hospital and University ADHD Center Directory
- Local hospitals or universities
- Online therapy platforms
How therapy can help 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 - and to get the support you need if you are experiencing 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. Many parents said the ability to receive treatment at home was a tremendous convenience and made regular therapy attendance easier.
Do people with ADHD go to a psychiatrist?
Many people with ADHD go to a psychiatrist for help.
How does a psychiatrist help with ADHD?
Psychiatrists help patients with ADHD in many ways. First, they will gather the necessary information to establish a diagnosis of ADHD and then develop a specialized treatment plan tailored to the needs of the individual. This will likely include psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and medication.
A psychiatrist also works with patients to determine if there are comorbid conditions present for other mental health disorders. The most common psychiatric disorders that co-occur with ADHD include:
- Personality Disorders
- Bipolar Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
Note: While psychotic disorders aren't typically comorbid with ADHD, research indicates that people with childhood and adolescent ADHD are at increased risk of psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Do people with ADHD go to a psychologist or psychiatrist?
Any mental health professional can provide an ADHD diagnosis, but most people work with a psychiatrist for treatment because they can prescribe medication and oversee medication management.
What kind of doctor do you see for ADHD?
People with ADHD often visit doctors specific to their needs. For example, children may see a physician specializing in pediatric psychiatry. A psychiatric nurse practitioner may be more convenient for some. Individuals experiencing challenges with substance use disorders may see a doctor with expertise in ADHD and addiction psychiatry.
Individuals experiencing co-occurring mental health issues may seek treatment from other mental health professionals and specialists who can prescribe medications. For example, a patient may see a psychotherapist for a co-occurring mood disorder and a psychiatric nurse practitioner for medication management.
Should I tell my psychiatrist I think I have ADHD?
You should tell your psychiatrist right away if you're already receiving treatment for a mental illness but think you think you may also have ADHD. If this is the case, your psychiatrist needs to reassess you and determine if you need an augmented treatment plan.
What questions do psychiatrists ask for ADHD?
For a diagnosis of ADHD, psychiatrists typically perform an initial consultation in which they'll ask the patient to describe an average day in their life or specific challenges they face in daily functioning. They'll often ask for the patient's family and medical history. For example, they may ask if the patient has relatives who had a difficult time in school or at work, then ask for specifics about that situation.
They may also ask someone to the patient, such as a parent, spouse, or sibling, to complete a checklist or narrative designed to provide a little information about the patient. For example, the doctor may ask the loved one to describe the patient's strengths and weaknesses, or they may ask for a broad description of personality.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
After the initial consultation, a psychiatrist will typically ask the patient to complete ADHD tests and rating scales to determine if they have the disorder— and identify or rule out any comorbidities. Some typical tests used in ADHD diagnosis include:
- Intelligence Assessments
- Skills Tests
- Cognitive Abilities Tests
- Broad-Spectrum Scales
- ADHD Rating Scales
- Brain Scans
Psychiatrists compare the resulting data with the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) to arrive at an official diagnosis.
What is the main therapy for ADHD?
The most used treatments for ADHD include behavioral therapy and/or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) paired with stimulant medications to treat the symptoms.
How successful is therapy for ADHD?
While medication is still often recommended to supplement therapeutic intervention for ADHD, studies indicate that CBT is exceptionally effective for treating ADHD in adults.
Why won't my psychiatrist diagnose me with ADHD?
ADHD can be complicated to diagnose, and your psychiatrist may not provide a diagnosis for several reasons. For example, many people with ADHD also have another neurological condition, or there are other neurological conditions whose symptoms are similar that your psychiatrist may want to eliminate as a cause.
ADHD also shares many symptoms with other disorders like depression and anxiety that can create complications in achieving a diagnosis. Your psychiatrist may want to spend more time with you in sessions to assess your symptoms and behaviors before definitively diagnosing you with ADHD.
How can I find an ADHD psychiatrist near me?
There are several online registries available to help you find a mental health care provider for ADHD in your area:
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