Professionals Who Diagnose and Treat ADHD
When seeking an evaluation or treatment for ADHD, it is important to see a qualified, licensed healthcare professional. In addition to ensuring that a particular professional has the required training, it is also important to work with a professional who has experience in dealing with this disorder.
There are several types of professionals who typically diagnose ADHD. These include: physicians (especially psychiatrists, pediatricians, neurologists), psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners, and other licensed counselors or therapists (e.g. professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, etc.).
In addition to those who may diagnose ADHD, there are numerous other professionals who may have a role in providing treatment and other services for individuals with ADHD and related disorders. These may include various types of therapists or specialists (such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, behavior therapists, educational specialists, etc.).
While all of the above professionals can provide treatment for ADHD, only certain medical professionals can prescribe medication and perform thorough physical evaluations to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. These professionals are physicians (M.D. or D.O.), nurse practitioners, and physician assistants (P.A.) under the supervision of a physician. All professionals — including medical/health professionals and educational professionals — should work only within their scope of experience and expertise. It is important that all of the members of your treatment team communicate with each other on a regular basis.
The following resources may be helpful in finding providers:
- CHADD Professional Directory**
- Your Primary Care Physician may be able either to make the diagnosis, or refer to another clinician with more experience in diagnosing and treating ADHD
- CHADD members in your CHADD Local Chapter can sometimes be good resources and may be willing to share their experiences with professionals in your local community.
- Hospital and University ADHD Centers can be a resource for a variety of services, including ADHD evaluations, referrals to local practitioners, and information on participating in current research projects.
- Your Insurance Company can provide a list of clinicians with particular expertise who participate in your insurance plan.
- Professional Associations will sometimes offer referrals or provide directories. You may wish to contact:
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Medical Association
- National Association of Social Workers
- American Psychological Association
- American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
- Psychology Today provides a comprehensive and easily searchable directory of mental health professionals, therapy groups and treatment centers.
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) maintains a directory of mental health services and resources in each state; 800-662-4357.
If you cannot afford services or do not have health insurance, please read the section on Public Insurance and Public Benefits Programs or contact your state department of health or mental health to locate a community mental health center near you. See also this article: Ask the Specialist: I Don’t Have Insurance. How Do I Pay For Treatment?