You're likely to start by first talking to your family doctor. Depending on the results of the initial evaluation, your doctor may refer you to a specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
What you can do
To get ready for your appointment:
- Make a list of any symptoms you've had and problems they've caused, such as trouble at work, at school or in relationships.
- Make a list of key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes you've had.
- Make a list of all medications you take, including any vitamins or supplements. Also include the amount of caffeine and alcohol you use, and whether you use street drugs.
- Prepare questions to ask your doctor.
Basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What are the possible causes of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What's the best treatment?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Should I see a specialist such as a psychiatrist or psychologist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask, such as:
Mar. 07, 2013
- When do you first remember having problems focusing, paying attention or sitting still?
- Have your symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsiveness been continuous or occasional?
- Which symptoms bother you most, and what problems do they seem to cause?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- In what settings have you noticed the symptoms: at home, at work or in other situations?
- What was your childhood like? Did you have social problems or trouble in school?
- How is your current and past academic and work performance?
- What are your sleep hours and patterns?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What medications do you take?
- Do you consume caffeine?
- Do you drink alcohol or use street drugs?
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Stimulants and nonstimulants for ADHD. Psychiatryonline. http://psychiatryonline.org/content.aspx?bookid=27§ionid=1332352#228315. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- ADHD factsheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/index.shtml. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Michielsen M, et al. The comorbidity of anxiety and depressive symptoms in older adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A longitudinal study. Journal of Affective Disorders. In press. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Brook JS, et al. Adolescent ADHD and adult physical and mental health, work performance and financial stress. Pediatrics. 2013;131:5.
- Skirrow C, et al. Emotional liability, comorbidity and impairment in adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders. In press. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Goodman DW, et al. Assessment of physician practices in adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders. In press. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- What we know: Succeeding in the workplace. National Resource Center on AD/HD, http://www.help4adhd.org/en/living/workplace/WWK16/. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- What we know: Coaching for Adults with AD/HD. National Resource Center on AD/HD. http://www.help4adhd.org/en/living/coaching/WWK18. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- What we know: Interacting with others — Tips for adults with AD/HD. National Resource Center on AD/HD. http://www.help4adhd.org/en/living/relandsoc/WWK15S. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Bader A, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies for children and adolescents with ADHD. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2012;24:760.
- Searight HR, et al. Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Jensen PS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 31, 2013.
- Swintak CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 21, 2013.
- Lindstrom K, et al. Preterm birth and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in school children. Pediatrics. 2011;127:858.
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