What to Consider When Choosing Your ADHD Doctor

TOO LONG TO READ? Click HERE for the ADHD Friendly Version of this article!

Find the Best ADHD Doctor, For You, or Your Child

ADHD is a lifelong, neurological, physiological condition, deserving of the same medical attention as any other physiological condition. Therefore it is paramount to give the same attention to finding the best doctor for your ADHD, as you would if you were given any other diagnosis.

Seeing a new doctor can be an unsettling experience. There are many reasons one doctor may be better for you than another. Many doctors hide behind “med-speak”, making it difficult for the patient to understand the full meaning behind their words. Some doctors discourage patients from asking too many questions, or dismiss the patient’s comments, without giving them full and serious consideration. Some doctors have poor “beside manners,” are abrupt, and rush patients through appointments. Some doctors shut down the moment a patient attempts to share information found via an outside source. Sometimes a patient and doctor simply do not “click.” Often, doctors intimidate patients, resulting in patients neglecting to ask the doctor everything they want to know during the appointment. It is of utmost importance that you do your research, before choosing your ADHD doctor. There are plenty of good, knowledgeable, and personable, doctors. You just need to take the time to find the best one for you.

How to Find Your ADHD Doctor

It is a good idea to seek a strong recommendation from family, friends, and acquaintances to find your ADHD doctor. Picking a name out of the phone book, or from a Google search, can be the first, but should not be the only, step in the doctor choosing process. Look at ads. Look at websites. Choose two or three doctors who “look good on paper.” Then begin the search of finding people who have real life experience with those doctors, as their patients, not their friends.

Ask Questions

If you know of someone who has ADHD in their family, ask that person the following questions:
How do they like their doctor?
Does their doctor listen to them?
Does their doctor rush them through appointments?
Does their doctor respect them?
On average, how long do patients wait, after signing in, before they see the doctor?
Is there a long wait for appointments or can you get appointments quickly?
Is the office ADHD friendly?
Do they think their doctor is the best doctor for them or did they  settle due to limited options, distance, etc.?

Go to CHADD meetings and listen to what the attendees say about their doctors. Does the same name come up repeatedly as the “go to” or “stay away from” doctor? Pay attention to that. Arrive early, and stay late, to socialize and talk informally with the other attendees. These folks are in the trenches. This is where you are going to hear about the best, and worst, doctors in your community.

The foundation of a good doctor/patient relationship is trust. A doctor/patient relationship, based on mutual respect, leads to comprehensive care and successful treatment of ADHD. ADHD is for life. It makes sense to put time and energy into choosing the best doctor for you. If you do not find the best doctor for your situation from the start, you may bounce between doctors, completing lengthy intake forms, and repeating prolonged initial interviews, only to result in sub-par treatment, unnecessarily wasting months, or even years, of your life. You will have to advocate for yourself, or your child, to make sure you are getting the best, and most comprehensive, medical care available and your doctor should be someone who is not threatened, or bothered in any way, by your input into your own treatment.

While it may not be in your control, do your best to choose a doctor whose office is in as close proximity to your home, workplace, or your child’s school, if possible. Think about how often, in your life, ADHD symptoms interfere with your arriving on time. If time management is a big problem for you, or your child, and appointments are only 15 to 30 minutes long, you don’t want to leave late, speed, with the hope of salvaging whatever time of your appointment is left, and risk being even later because you’re pulled over by the police and ticketed. If time management is an issue for you, or your child, you will be short-changing yourself, and sabotaging the treatment right from the start, if you choose a doctor where traveling time is a factor. You will be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, choose to set yourself up for success, right at the beginning of the process.

NEXT:  Preparing for Your First Visit to Your ADHD Doctor: I

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About addcoach1

This internet blog is written by Regina Cashman, M.A., an ADHD Coach with a nationwide internet practice. Regina previously worked as a Medical Psychotherapist for Human Developmental Services before opening her private practice as an ADHD LifeCoach, helping to manage the multiple interventions and psycho-education of those with ADHD. Regina's website, ADDCoach Services, is found at www.ADDCoach.info. Appointments are by video chat. ADD Coach Services helps individuals with ADD/ADHD, and those who love them, navigate the ADD maze so as to Master their ADD, rather than be mastered by it. Please provide comments and feedback!
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