ADHD is often first identified during childhood or adolescence, but there are many cases in which someone goes undiagnosed and untreated until adulthood. Seeking treatment for ADHD as an adult can seem intimidating, as you may not know what type of medical provider to look for and whether to pursue local or online treatment.
There may also be some confusion over what kind of doctor to seek help from, with psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed physicians all capable of diagnosing and treating ADHD in their own unique ways.
If you’re an adult seeking help with ADHD, it’s important to start somewhere rather than letting your symptoms continue to control your life.
Do you suspect you may have ADHD? Klarity helps make diagnosis and treatment easy and affordable. Book an online appointment today and see a licensed ADHD medical professional within 48 hours.
Is ADHD Treated By a Psychiatrist?
ADHD is a complex condition with some symptoms being harder to identify than others. Although many symptoms manifest physically, ADHD is ultimately a neurological disorder that originates from differences in brain chemistry. Psychiatrists specialize in treating the mental and neurological differences in adults with ADHD.
While there is some confusion between psychiatrists and psychologists, the key difference between them is their treatment methods. Psychiatrists are medical doctors able to treat ADHD symptoms medically as well as through therapy. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, but provide counseling and talk therapy to help patients cope with living with ADHD.
How to Find a Psychiatrist for ADHD
Choosing a psychiatrist for your ADHD doesn’t need to be difficult, and there are more options now than there were before the pandemic. It’s up to you whether you want the convenience of teletherapy or the in-person intimacy of an office visit. Either option can provide help with managing your ADHD symptoms and allow you to live a better life.
Online ADHD Treatment for Adults
If you have a busy schedule that doesn’t allow much time for doctor’s appointments, online ADHD treatment can be an effective solution. Do your research to find a reputable psychiatric teletherapy service. Read through customer reviews to get an idea of how well they work with ADHD patients. From diagnosis to ADHD medication management, online psychiatrists can provide every service a local psychiatrist can with the benefit of increased flexibility.
Online psychiatrists need to be licensed in your state to be able to prescribe medication. Klarity can connect you with a licensed and certified medical provider who can properly diagnose and treat your ADHD.
Local ADHD Treatment for Adults
If you prefer to speak with a doctor face-to-face, there are many local ADHD treatment resources for adults.
Your primary care physician may be able to recommend a psychiatrist experienced with treating ADHD, and community mental health facilities specialize in connecting people to the services they need. It’s also possible to use online resources to find a local psychiatrist, so you can get an idea of how many options you have before you get started.
Once you find the psychiatrist that’s right for you, you’ll need to contact their office to find out whether they’re accepting new patients. Then you can schedule an initial appointment.
Another factor to consider: if you live in a smaller community, you may not have access to a local psychiatrist. Teletherapy may be your only option for ADHD treatment.
How to Ask Your Psychiatrist About ADHD
Once you’ve found a suitable psychiatrist, whether online or in-office, it’s important to discuss your ADHD symptoms as soon as possible. The only way you can get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment is by being completely transparent with your psychiatrist. There should be no judgment associated with your condition, so discuss your ADHD freely.
Questions to Ask Your Psychiatrist About ADHD
ADHD is a complex condition that can be difficult to fully understand, so solid information will help you manage your symptoms. If you’re unsure of what to ask your psychiatrist about ADHD, there are a few key things to focus on that will give you a greater sense of how the condition works and how specific treatments can help.
Some of the best questions to ask your psychiatrist about ADHD include:
- How do you know I have ADHD?
- What are the best treatments for ADHD, and how will I know if the treatments are working?
- What are the possible side effects of ADHD medications?
- How can I reduce ADHD symptoms without medication?
- Can improved exercise, sleep, or diet improve my ADHD symptoms?
- How long will I need to be on medication?
- Where can I find additional support and resources?
- Who Else Can Diagnose and Treat ADHD in Adults?
A number of different types of medical professionals besides psychiatrists can diagnose and treat ADHD, but some have more options at their disposal than others. As you seek help for your condition, it’s important to know the capabilities of each type of ADHD treatment provider.
Can a Primary Care Provider Diagnose and Treat ADHD?
Your primary care provider may be able to diagnose and treat ADHD. If they have experience, they will use the same diagnosis method as a psychiatrist—a series of questions about symptoms that will determine whether you suffer from the condition. Your doctor will also be able to prescribe medication as a treatment option.
If your doctor doesn’t feel qualified to diagnose ADHD, they may be able to refer you to a medical provider experienced with the condition.
Can a Nurse Practitioner Diagnose and Treat ADHD?
Psychiatric nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) are registered nurses who have completed a master’s or doctoral degree in a specialty area of nursing. When it comes to diagnosing and treating ADHD, they have many of the same qualifications as psychiatrists. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are capable of diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication as needed.
Can a Physician Assistant Diagnose and Treat ADHD?
Just as psychiatric nurse practitioners can provide many of the same services as psychiatrists, a physician assistant (PA) can also provide ample assistance with ADHD diagnosis and treatment. Physician assistants can order, prescribe, and dispense ADHD medication under the supervision of a regular physician.
Can a Neurologist Diagnose and Treat ADHD?
As ADHD is a neurological condition, a neurologist is capable of diagnosing ADHD in adults. This often requires them to complete the same assessments that a regular physician or psychiatrist might conduct. A neurologist may also use an MRI or CT scan to analyze your brain activity to rule out other possible conditions.
Can a Psychologist Diagnose and Treat ADHD?
Psychologists typically have either master’s degrees or doctorates in psychology. They often also have to undergo licensing that differs from state to state. A psychologist can diagnose ADHD, but can’t prescribe medication. They can, however, provide talk therapy that can help you learn to live with ADHD symptoms. A psychologist may also recommend medication and work with a doctor or psychiatrist to get it prescribed.
What Are the Criteria to Be Diagnosed with ADHD?
To properly diagnose ADHD, healthcare providers use the guidelines set by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5). This diagnostic standard ensures people aren’t misdiagnosed, and that they receive appropriate treatment. When completing an adult ADHD diagnosis, a healthcare provider will look for at least five consistent indications that would fall under inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity, or both.
The symptoms of inattention that are used for diagnosis include:
- Often is unable to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
- Often has trouble staying focused on tasks.
- Often finds it difficult to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace.
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require sustained mental effort.
- Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
- Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities.
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
- If often easily distracted.
- The symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity that are used for ADHD diagnosis include:
- Often leaves their seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
- Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in a seat.
- Often runs or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate.
- Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
- Is often “on the go” or constantly in motion.
- Often talks excessively.
- Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed
- Often has difficulty waiting their turn.
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others.
Local vs. Online ADHD Treatment
Often, whether you choose local or online ADHD treatment is a matter of your preference. There are benefits and drawbacks to both.
If face-to-face interaction is important to you, you’ll likely choose a local psychiatrist. They’ll be able to work with you in-office to diagnose and treat your ADHD. If you can, find a psychiatrist experienced with the condition.
Some smaller towns might not have psychiatrists, and if they do it may be hard to find one who’s accepting new patients. In addition, office hours often fall within the workday, so be sure your calendar is flexible enough to accommodate occasional appointments.
For online treatment, the main draw is convenience and flexibility. Not only do you get to complete your appointments from the comfort of your own home, but you’re allowed to tailor your appointments around your schedule so they don’t interfere with work or other responsibilities. Telehealth appointments also tend to be cheaper than in-person visits, as there’s less of a need for doctors to use in-office resources to assist you.
Deciding between local and online ADHD treatment ultimately comes down to personal preference, but in today’s fast-paced and dynamic world, telehealth has emerged as an effective alternative to more traditional methods of healthcare.
Klarity Can Connect You With an ADHD Specialist
Klarity has partnered with a team of licensed and certified providers who specialize in ADHD treatment, from diagnosis to medication prescription. With just one online visit with a psychiatric medical provider, you can get an official diagnosis and get started with the convenient, affordable ADHD treatment you’ve been looking for.
Living with ADHD can be a daily struggle, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Book an appointment today and let an ADHD specialist help bring focus and direction into your life.