The success of treatment will depend on your commitment to treatment as well as the support of your health provider. ADD/ADHD symptoms are unique in each person. While one person may have the most difficulty with impulsiveness, another may find that follow through and completion of tasks is most troublesome in their life. Treatment should be customized to each individual. Finding the right physician or health care professional is very important.
For some, insurance considerations and location are factors in finding their doctor. Their choices may be limited, however, through careful research and discussion you may be able to work with your primary physician to locate someone in your area that specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD. There are a number of steps you can take to help you find the practitioner that can be the most help to you.
Think about why you want medical treatment. What are you looking to accomplish and what type of care do you expect to receive from the health professional?
Talk to support groups in your area, other adults or parents that use medical professionals, your primary physician and make a list of practitioners in your area.
Check the medical professionals on your list and be sure they are practical.
a. Can you get to the doctor’s office?
b. Do they accept your health insurance?
c. Are they willing to work with your for payment?
d. Will you be able to reach the doctor in case of emergency?
e. Is this a group practice? If so, will you be able to see the same doctor each time you have an appointment?
f. How long will you need to wait to get an appointment? Will you need to call weeks in advance each time you need to see the doctor?
g. Do you feel more comfortable with either male or female doctor, young or old doctor? Does this doctor fit your criteria?
- Talk with the doctor before setting up an appointment. Find out if they are easy to talk to, if they listen to you, if they are open minded and if they seem interested in what you have to say.
a. Are they knowledgeable about ADD/ADHD?
b. Do they attend continuing education classes regarding ADD/ADHD? If not, where do they find updated information and research?
c. What are their beliefs about medication?
d. What is their philosophy toward ADD/ADHD treatment?
e. How long have they been treating patients with ADD/ADHD?
Check the credentials of the doctor. You can check with your state or a professional organization such as American Medical Association to check to be sure the practitioner is licensed. Ask the doctor where they went to school. Ask local support groups or other adults you know if they know of the doctor and what their reputation is.
Find out if there is a fee for the initial consultation and if so, how much is the fee. Use the initial consultation to decide if you want to continue treatment with this practitioner. There are a number of additional questions you can ask during the initial visit.
a. Do they diagnose ADD/ADHD? What rating scales or diagnostic methods do they use?
b. Do they specialize in ADD/ADHD?
c. Do they specialize in treating a certain age group?
d. How many people with ADD/ADHD have they treated?
e. Do they deal with ADD/ADHD on a personal level, for example, children, spouse, other family member or friend?
f. What is their philosophy on medication?
g. Are they able to prescribe medication? How do they form a treatment plan?
- If you are seeking medical attention for your child, you can ask the following questions as well.
a. Will the doctor work with the school in setting up or developing recommended accommodations for your child?
b. Will they put their recommendations for accommodations in writing?
c. Are they willing to speak directly to your child’s teacher if needed?
- Based on these steps, you should be able to narrow down your search to a practitioner that meets your needs. If you find that you are not comfortable with the doctor, start the process again to find someone that will be best for your situation.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.