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 or how to pursue treatment.
There may also be some confusion over what kind of healthcare provider to seek help from when psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed physicians can diagnose and treat ADHD in unique ways.
If you are an adult searching for a reliable and affordable psychiatrist online, Klarity can help. We connect patients with healthcare professionals to help them take the first steps toward receiving a diagnosis or professional treatment for their ADHD symptoms with comprehensive telehealth appointments.
Get started today by scheduling an appointment with one of the providers on Klarity. In just 48 hours, you can get the help you need from a licensed and board-certified ADHD specialist right from home.
Licensed providers on Klarity provide personalized mental health treatment. Find a provider that matches your needs and preferences.
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 neurodevelopmental 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 is their treatment methods. Psychiatrists are medical doctors able to treat ADHD symptoms medically as well as through therapy. Psychologists cannot prescribe medication, but can provide counseling and talk therapy to help patients cope with living with ADHD.
How to Find a Psychiatrist for ADHD
Choosing a mental health professional for your ADHD doesn’t need to be difficult, and there are more options now than before the pandemic. It’s up to you whether you want the convenience of teletherapy or the intimacy of an in-office visit. Either option can provide help with managing your ADHD symptoms.
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 understand 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 prescribe medication. Klarity can connect you with a licensed, certified medical provider who can properly diagnose and treat your ADHD with prescription medication.
If you live in a smaller community, teletherapy may be your best or only option for ADHD treatment, as you may not have access to a local psychiatrist.
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 mental health services they need. It’s also possible to use online resources to find a local psychiatrist to get an idea of how many options you have before you start.
Once you find the right psychiatrist, contact their office to determine whether they are currently accepting new patients. From there, you can schedule an initial appointment.
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. Your provider is there to help, not judge, so talk openly about your symptoms. You can only get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment by being completely transparent with your psychiatrist.
Questions to Ask Your Psychiatrist About ADHD
ADHD is a complex condition that can be difficult to understand, so reliable information will help you manage your symptoms. If you’re unsure 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?
Other types of medical professionals 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 primary care 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 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 assist with ADHD diagnosis and treatment. While they cannot personally diagnose symptoms, 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 can diagnose ADHD in adults. Often, this 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 to help you learn to manage your 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 receive appropriate treatment.
When completing an adult ADHD diagnosis, a healthcare provider will look for at least five consistent indications under inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity, or both.
The symptoms of inattention that are used for diagnosis include:
- Often cannot pay close attention to details and makes careless mistakes at school, work, or in other activities.
- Often has trouble staying focused on tasks.
- Often finds it difficult to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often cannot 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 forgetful in daily activities.
- Is 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 their 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
Whether you choose local or online ADHD treatment is often a matter of 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 appeal 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. 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.
Klarity Connects You With an ADHD Psychiatrist
Telehealth has emerged recently as an effective alternative to more traditional methods of healthcare. If you are interested in a simple and affordable way to find a psychiatrist online, Klarity can help. We match patients with licensed mental health professionals for private, virtual ADHD treatment.
Through Klarity, your psychiatrist will be able to diagnose your symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan for your ADHD, which may include prescription medication. Find a provider and get seen within 48 hours or less.