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How to talk to your doctor about ADHD and get treatment

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Apr 22, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

Table of contents

Everyone experiences occasional forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or fidgety behavior. We all struggle to pay attention at work or find it hard to follow a conversation with a friend or family member sometimes. But if these symptoms are chronic and are taking a toll on your physical and mental well-being, you may be wondering how to talk to your doctor about ADHD and your symptoms. 

If you’re uninsured or otherwise don’t have access to a trusted doctor for support with ADHD symptoms, Klarity can help. Klarity will connect you with a medical professional for fast, affordable ADHD treatment either online or in person. Find a provider on Klarity today!

How to explain your ADHD symptoms when talking to your doctor

To diagnose and properly treat you, your doctor needs 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 helps to know the different ways ADHD affects a person’s memory, attention, and behavior.

What are the signs and symptoms of adult ADHD

One way to break down the symptoms of ADHD is to divide them into 3 categories — lack of focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. 

You may experience symptoms from just 1 or all 3 of these umbrella categories. If you think you may have ADHD, speak to your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing. 

Licensed providers on Klarity provide personalized treatment. Find a provider that matches your needs and preferences.

Questions to ask your doctor about ADHD

During your discussion with your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask any questions about your condition. It’s important to understand everything you can about ADHD and how best to treat its symptoms.

Questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Do I have ADHD?
  • What kind of ADHD do I have?
  • What ADHD treatment will work best for me?
  • Should I take medication?
  • Do I need therapy?
  • What else can I do?

We dig into these key questions more below, so you have more information when you talk to your provider.

What kind of ADHD do I have?

Doctors typically diagnose people with 1 of 3 types of ADHD, inattentive ADHD, hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, or combined ADHD, where people have inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms.

Here’s a breakdown of the symptoms of each type so you can understand and talk to your provider about which type you may have.

Inattentive ADHD

Inattentive ADHD affects around 33% of adults who have ADHD and is characterized by the following 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. 
  • Can’t 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 time.
  • Loses important objects — cell phones, glasses, etc.
  • Becomes easily disengaged or distracted during activities.
  • Can’t meet important deadlines, return important phone calls, or keep appointments.

Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD

ADHD that causes hyperactivity and impulsivity is less common than inattentive ADHD and affects around 7% of adults with ADHD. Common symptoms include: 

  • Can’t sit still or moves constantly; exhibits incessant fidgeting or foot-tapping. 
  • Inappropriately runs, moves, or climbs.
  • Can’t be quiet or quietly perform activities. 
  • 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 your 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.

Combined ADHD

Combined ADHD is the most common form, affecting around 60% of adults with ADHD. It causes a combination of the symptoms of inattentive ADHD as well as hyperactive-impulsive ADHD. Their symptoms can be any combination of the symptoms associated with the other 2, and they may have more from 1 than the other. 

How doctors diagnose adult ADHD

Doctors experienced with ADHD typically ask you a series of questions designed to determine whether you’re suffering from the condition and which form 

There are also self-reporting tests you can take to determine whether or not you should consult with a doctor and seek a diagnosis. 

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 exercise. 

ADHD medication

ADHD medication can be an effective way to manage your ADHD symptoms. Depending on your symptoms and needs, a provider will prescribe a stimulant or non-stimulant ADHD medication. Stimulant ADHD medications work by increasing levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, while non-stimulant ADHD medications work by targeting different brain chemicals to improve focus and reduce impulsivity.

There are a variety of prescription medications available, and a provider on Klarity can help you find 1 that best suits your needs. On Klarity, connect with a provider who has experience treating ADHD within 48 hours.


Stimulants are often prescribed to help people with ADHD combat inattentiveness and remain focused throughout the day.

Common stimulant medications prescribed for ADHD include:

  • Amphetamines
    • Adderall
    • Dexedrine
    • Vyvanse
  • Methylphenidate
    • Concerta
    • Ritalin
    • Quillivant

Dependency warning: Amphetamines and methylphenidate are Schedule II stimulants classified as controlled substances due to their high potential for misuse and abuse. Proper use and monitoring of Schedule II stimulants are essential to prevent misuse and minimize potential harm. 

You should only take these medications as prescribed and under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Don’t take these medications in higher doses or more frequently than directed.

Non-stimulant medication

Non-stimulant ADHD medication isn’t 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:

  • Atomoxetine (Strattera)
  • Guanfacine (Intuniv)
  • Clonidine (Kapvay)

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:

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

Therapy for ADHD

ADHD symptoms affect every aspect of your 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.

Support groups

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 you share common experiences with others who suffer from the condition.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

This form of talk therapy helps you understand the connection between the thoughts you have and the behaviors that follow. With CBT, you’ll learn how your beliefs shape your behavior and how changes in thinking can affect the outcomes of negative thoughts.

Anger management

People with ADHD may have trouble controlling their emotions, and as such, anger is often associated with the disorder. Anger management helps you understand the mechanisms of your impulsiveness and low tolerance for frustration. You’ll learn coping mechanisms, practice mindfulness, and learn what triggers your emotional outbursts so you 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 1. 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.

See an ADHD doctor within 48 hours on Klarity

Starting a conversation with an experienced medical professional is the best way to get your ADHD properly diagnosed and treated. Knowing how to talk to your doctor about ADHD will ensure you receive accurate and effective treatment.

On Klarity, book an appointment, online or in person, with a qualified professional for ADHD treatment and get the care you need. 


SonderMind. “How to Talk to Your Doctor About ADHD?” Rachel Hughitt, MS. July 3, 2023.

EverydayHealth. “How to Bring Up ADHD With Your Doctor.” Elizabeth Shimer Bowers. Sept. 27, 2023.

Circle Medial. “How to Talk to Your Doctor About ADHD.” Circle Medical Staff. May 21, 2023.

ADDitutde Magazine. “Q: “How Do I Get My Parents to Take My Concerns About ADHD Seriously?”” Leslie Josel. Aug. 1, 2023.

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