Occasional forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or fidgety behavior happens to all of us. Everybody, at times, struggles to pay attention at work or finds it hard to follow a conversation with a friend or family member. However, if these ADHD symptoms are chronic and are taking a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing, talking with a doctor can help you alleviate symptoms and get the treatment you need.
Knowing what questions to ask when you talk to your doctor about ADHD is key to getting the proper diagnosis and the treatment plan that will provide relief from your symptoms.
Start the conversation and get help with your ADHD. Book an online appointment with an experienced medical professional today.
Explain Your ADHD Symptoms to Your Doctor
In order to diagnose and properly treat you, your doctor is going to need to know everything about your ADHD symptoms. Be sure to discuss all possible symptoms—even something as seemingly minor as continually forgetting where you placed your keys may indicate you may have ADHD.
To outline your ADHD symptoms effectively, it’s essential to know the many different ways the condition affects a person’s memory, attention, and behavior.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Adult ADHD
One way to break down the many symptoms of ADHD is to divide them into three categories—lack of focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
- Trouble staying still, feeling restless
- Moving or speaking inappropriately during social interactions
- Fidgeting, tapping, shaking, or talking excessively
- Inability to be quiet
- Interrupting conversation or activities
- Acting as if being driven by a motor
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Acting without thinking
- Unable to delay gratification
- Doesn’t consider long-term consequences
- Desiring immediate rewards
- Possessing little to no self-control
- Lack of Focus
- Difficulty remaining focused
- Difficulty starting or finishing tasks
- Trouble organizing and planning procedures for completing tasks
- Avoiding tasks that require sustained effort
- Becoming easily distracted
- Often losing or misplacing essential items like keys, wallets, or important documents
- Overlooking details and making sloppy mistakes
You may experience symptoms from just one or all three of the above umbrella categories. They’re all important to discuss with your doctor.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About ADHD
During your discussion with your doctor, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask any questions about your ADHD. It’s important to understand everything you can about your condition and how best to treat its symptoms.
What Kind of ADHD Do I Have?
Doctors typically diagnose people with one of three types of ADHD: Inattentive ADHD, Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD, and Combined ADHD, in which people exhibit inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms.
People over the age of 17 with Inattentive ADHD exhibit at least five of the nine symptoms:
- Can’t focus attention on details and makes careless errors during tasks and projects.
- Has difficulty staying on task and focused while reading, during conversations, or in meetings.
- Doesn’t seem to be present during interactions or conversations.
- Cannot follow simple ordered instructions. Has difficulty finishing tasks.
- Has poor organizational skills—exhibits poor time management, is disorganized or misses deadlines.
- Avoids engaging in projects or tasks that require sustained focus for an extended period of time.
- Loses important objects—cell phones, glasses, etc.
- Becomes easily disengaged or distracted during activities.
- Is unable to make important deadlines, return important phone calls, or keep appointments.
As with Inattentive ADHD, a person over 17 must exhibit five out of the nine symptoms to be diagnosed with Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD:
- Is unable to sit still or moves constantly; exhibits incessant fidgeting or foot-tapping.
- Is unable to remain still—in the workplace, may present as being unable to stay seated.
- Inappropriately runs, moves, or climbs.
- Is unable to be quiet or perform activities quietly.
- Seems to be acting as if driven by a motor.
- Talks excessively and at inappropriate times.
- Interrupts people during conversations, may finish people’s sentences, etc.
- Is averse to waiting in lines or waiting their turn in conversations.
Involves themselves or intrudes on the activities or conversations of others; takes over activities; takes control of situations without permission or justification.
When people exhibit 6 or more symptoms of Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD, they are diagnosed with Combined ADHD.
What Types of ADHD Treatment Will Work Best for Me?
You and your doctor will discuss the best way to address your ADHD symptoms. Usually, doctors recommend a combination of medicine and talk therapy that helps control symptoms and offer coping skills. In addition, your doctor might recommend making behavioral changes to help you stay focused and organized. This might include making lists, keeping a planner, and engaging in moderate exercising.
There are several medications doctors prescribe to treat ADHD symptoms. These fall within the general categories of stimulant and non-stimulant.
Stimulants are often prescribed to help people with ADHD combat inattentiveness and remain focused throughout the day. They work by increasing the brain’s supply of neurotransmitters.
Common stimulant medications prescribed for ADHD include:
Non-stimulant ADHD medication is not the first-line treatment for the disorder but may be prescribed for people who have trouble with stimulants’ side effects.
Some of the non-stimulant medications commonly prescribed for ADHD include:
In some cases, antidepressants are used to treat ADHD. They can be the treatment of choice when someone suffers from both ADHD and depression.
These medications include:
Therapy Options for ADHD Treatment
ADHD symptoms affect every aspect of a person’s life. For example, untreated ADHD can often lead to problems with both personal and work relationships. This is why therapy is an important part of a comprehensive ADHD treatment plan.
There are several types of therapy that can help with the day-to-day impact of your ADHD symptoms.
Knowing you’re not alone can be a big help in combating some of the social stigma associated with adult ADHD. Support groups can help participants share common experiences with others who suffer from the condition.
This form of talk therapy helps patients understand the connection between the thoughts they have and the behaviors that follow. With CBT, patients learn how their beliefs shape their behavior and how changes in thinking can affect the outcomes of negative thought.
People with ADHD may have trouble controlling their emotions, and as such anger is often associated with the disorder. Anger management helps patients understand the mechanisms of their impulsiveness and low tolerance for frustration. Patients learn coping mechanisms, practice mindfulness, and learn what triggers their emotional outbursts so they can control intense emotions stemming from ADHD.
Exercise to Treat ADHD
Exercise can help boost mood-regulating beta-endorphins and neurotransmitters. Your doctor might recommend that you exercise to help control some of the symptoms of ADHD, which happen in part due to low levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
How Do I Know if ADHD Treatments Are Working?
ADHD medication is intended to reduce some of your ADHD symptoms, but sometimes it takes a while to find the right one. Talk to your doctor about when you can expect you’ll feel better. Carefully monitor the intensity of your symptoms and whether you’re experiencing relief.
Open communication with your doctor will help them effectively treat your ADHD.
How Doctors Diagnose Adult ADHD
Doctors experienced with ADHD typically ask a series of questions designed to determine whether someone is suffering from the condition. As detailed above, a medical provider will diagnose a patient with inattentive ADHD, Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD, or Combined ADHD when they meet the recognized criteria.
There are also self-reporting tests you can take to determine whether or not you should consult with a doctor and seek a diagnosis. Klarity offers a quick two-minute self-evaluation that you can take to see if you may have ADHD and would benefit from speaking with a medical professional.
Other self-administered tests include the following:
Conner’s Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS) – This test consists of 66 questions that have you rate the frequency of ADHD symptoms.
Copeland Symptom Checklist for Adult ADHD – The Copeland Symptom Checklist was designed by an ADHD specialist to determine whether you have ADHD and, if so, what type of ADHD you may be experiencing.
Brown Adult ADHD Scale – The Brown Executive Function/Attention Scales help assess impairments associated with ADHD.
See an ADHD Medical Provider Within 48 Hours With Klarity
Starting a conversation with an experienced medical professional is the only way to get proper ADHD diagnosis and treatment. Knowing how to talk to your doctor about ADHD will ensure you stay educated about your condition and will help you better understand whether your treatment is working.
If you are ready to talk to a healthcare provider about managing your ADHD symptoms, book an appointment today and be seen within 48 hours.