Talking to Your Doctor About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about personal risk factors and/or experience with ADHD. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in treatment. Because ADHD reaches into every corner of life, dedicated involvement of close family and friends is vital to successful treatment.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else to your appointment with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Bring results from past neuropsychological evaluations or tests.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
- If you are not happy with your doctor, find a new one. You are in this for the long haul.
Specific Questions to Ask Your doctor
About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- I understand this is a tricky diagnosis to make. Can you reassure me that it is correct?
- Are other conditions also present?
About Treatment Options
- Can we create a comprehensive list of all the interventions we need to make—at school, at home, in the family, and with medications?
- What other health professionals should we invite onto our treatment team?
Do you recommend medication? If so:
- Can you assure me that this medication is necessary and at the proper dose?
- For how long will the medication be necessary?
- Please tell me everything I need to be aware of when using this medication.
- Other than medication, what treatments do you recommend?
- What kinds of alternative options are available?
- How often should I schedule return visits?
About Lifestyle Changes
- May we sit down and plan together all the areas we need to deal with—such as school, home, family, and medications?
- What is the best schooling plan for this case of ADHD?
- Do you recommend a change of school, occupation, or working environment?
About Your Outlook
- What can I expect in the future?
How can I arrange my life to get the most out of it?
- Educational goals
- Vocational goals
- Family and social expectations
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T231898/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-ADHD-in-adults. Updated December 27, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2017.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113926/Attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-ADHD-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated May 23, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2017.
Stern T, Rosenbaum J, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated May 2014. Accessed October 4, 2017.
What is ADHD? Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adhd.html. Updated July 2014. Accessed October 4, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 10/23/2020