Tips To Find A Local ADHD Psychiatrist

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant
Updated February 21, 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 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.  

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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.

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, 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.

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Pediatrician

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. 

Psychiatrist

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

For many people with ADHD, a psychiatrist is a crucial part of the treatment team. They 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, as well as help with medication management. 

ADHD coach

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.

Pediatric neurologist

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.

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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. 

Takeaway

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

Gain a better understanding of ADHD

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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