Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) happens to be one of the most common mental disorders in children. According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than 8.5 percent of children have ADHD, often first identified in school-aged youth discovered as a disruption in the classroom or problems with school work. It also affects adults, although to a lesser extent, at 2.5 percent. Among children, it is more common among boys than girls.
Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, inability to focus, hyperactivity and impulsivity. If you suspect your child has ADHD or they have already been diagnosed, you already know that they face challenges within school and social situations, which is why swift and comprehensive treatment is important.
Your child’s primary care doctor may recommend they see a variety of pediatric, mental health, and education specialists to address the issue, from psychologists to social workers to speech-language pathologists. One of the first professionals your child’s physician may refer them to is a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with the training and education necessary to successfully treat a variety of mental health conditions, from depression to anxiety and even ADHD. They will assist in the diagnosis of ADHD, prescribe medication, and offer your child counseling or therapy. A psychiatrist will also take the time to closely monitor the effects of certain medications and make adjustments as needed, looking out for possible interactions with other medications your child may be on.
A psychiatrist can also offer help if your child suffers from additional conditions, such as anxiety, mood disorders, sleep problems or seizures. You should seek out a psychiatrist who specializes in working with children or teens.
How to Choose a Specialist
When you’re told your child has ADHD and that treatment is necessary, it can be a scary and overwhelming time. That first visit to a psychiatrist can be stressful, as you don’t know what to expect and your child may also be quite nervous. In many cases, your child’s primary care physician can refer you to a psychiatrist or two. It’s your job to do the research necessary to narrow down your selection and make the best decision for your child.
It’s important that you locate a specialist that both you and your child feel comfortable being around. Start with referrals from the primary care doctor, then talk to other parents of children with ADHD. It’s also a good idea to ask your child’s teacher or school nurse for their suggestions.
You’ll also have to come up with a way to pay for a psychiatrist. The first stop is to call your health insurance company. Find out if the specialists you’re looking at are indeed covered under your particular plan. Ask for a list of in-network specialists for your area in order to see your options.
Call your prospective psychiatrist and ask them a few questions about their practice, such as:
- How much experience do you have working with children and treating ADHD specifically?
- What is your preferred method for treating ADHD?
- What is the process for making appointments?
- What can be expected with the first visit?
You may have to try out a few different specialists before you find the right fit. It’s vital that you settle on someone you can trust and talk with openly. If your child begins with one specialist but is struggling to develop a trusting relationship with them, move on to another.
As a parent of a child with ADHD, you may also want to see a mental health specialist to cope with the unique challenges you face as a caregiver. Anything from chronic stress to anxiety can arise in parents with children of disorders such as ADHD, and it’s important for you to take care of yourself too. Talk to your doctor and get a referral to a specialist for treatment.
Contact Comprehensive MedPsych Systems
Contact us today at one of our many convenient locations to learn about our psychiatric services and professionals. Our specialists provide compassionate, skilled care to children of all ages suffering from ADHD.