Self-Advocacy When Dealing with Medical Professionals

Treatment of ADHD requires medical attention. If you have co-existing conditions, you may have more than one physician, as well as a psychologist or psychiatrist that you routinely see. In order to make sure you receive the best possible care and treatment, self-advocacy is a must.

The following are tips to help you work with medical professionals:

  1. Understand your diagnosis. Do as much research as possible and write down how it impacts your daily life, your work and your relationships. Read books and articles on the condition as well as information on how other people cope.

  2. Learn about your health insurance. If you don't understand it, find someone who does. Go over what the insurance will cover and what it won't. Know in advance what your expenses are going to be so you can plan and include them in your budget.

  3. Keep detailed records of your health history in a notebook. Keep a file with doctor's names, addresses and phone numbers. Write down when you visit the doctor and what happened at the visit. Bring this information with you to each doctor visit and write down any additional notes. If you have questions in between visits, write them down so you will remember them.

  4. Decide before you go to the doctor what you want to happen. Have a goal in mind. Are you there to discuss problems that you have been having? Do you want to discuss behavioral strategies? Having a goal in mind will help to keep you focused.

  1. Use your notebook to chart your progress. If you started a new medication, write down how you felt and whether there was improvement. This will help you to remember what happened the next time you visit the doctor.

  2. Ask your doctor how much time they allot for regular appointments. If you feel you will need extra time, let the receptionist know when you schedule the appointment. This way you won't feel as if you are being rushed out of the office or that the doctor does not have the time to listen to you.

  3. Remember that if you are uncomfortable with your physician or unhappy with your treatment, you have the right to change to a different doctor. Based on your insurance, you may need to call to let them know that you would like to go to a different physician.

  4. If you were not happy with the outcome of a visit, discuss it with the doctor. If you still do not feel satisfied, get a second opinion. Again, for insurance coverage, you may need to talk with them first to get approval.


Strock, Margaret (1996). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. from national Institute of Mental Health Web site: National Center for Learning Disabilities

(2007). Being Your Own Advocate. from National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. Web site:

(2004). Being Your Own Advocate. from canadian Mental Health Association Web site:

advocacy. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved May 11, 2007, from website: