Too many of us have tried bringing up the subject of ADHD with a doctor only to be shut down with outdated and incorrect information. “You wouldn’t be able to sit still right now if you had it.” Or “Adults don’t have ADHD.” If you’ve wondered how to get diagnosed with ADHD as an adult because your experience so far has looked like this, I’ve found that the key is finding a good doctor.
“How?!?” You say?
Great question. Let’s dive in to the answer.
Getting Diagnosed with ADHD as an Adult
If you’ve tried bringing it up with your doctor and were immediately dismissed, don’t worry, there’s still hope. The key is in finding a doctor that is more knowledgeable about ADHD. And it may take some digging, but getting a good assessment is worth it.
In the United states any Doctor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or Licenced Mental Health Therapist/Social Worker can diagnose ADHD. That doesn’t mean that all of them do. But if you find a therapist, for instance, who specializes in ADHD, they are allowed to diagnose it. That can be useful info in your search for a good doctor to get diagnosed as an adult with ADHD.
Start with a Google Search
Seems way too basic but sometimes you’re surprised by what you find. When I was trying to find a good doctor for an assessment, I googled “ADHD specialist near me” and found that my city actually has an ADHD clinic with Doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating ADHD.
I wish every city had one of those but if you don’t, a google search may give you other valuable information. It often brings up ADHD directories, therapists who treat ADHD, or psychiatrists/psychologists who list it as a specialty.
I wouldn’t go with the first person you find. I mean you can, but I’ve found a little more digging goes a long way.
Check out the websites or bios that come up in your feed. If they show up in search but their website or bio says nothing about ADHD or anything that sounds like ADHD, I’d probably move on to the next one. They could be awesome, but if I’m looking for the right fit for me, I want to have some idea of what they say about ADHD before I call them.
Check Out ADHD Directories
Unfortunately, directories can be a bit sparse but may still provide you some insight in your area. Here are a few directories that might help you on your quest to getting diagnosed as an adult with ADHD.
Some of these directories include ADHD coaches, who are awesome and helpful many times, but can’t diagnose ADHD. If you find someone you are interested in, just double check that they are a doctor or licensed professional for the diagnosis.
Check out ADHD Support Groups
Your city might have an ADHD support group. You can search for one with a basic google search like “ADHD support groups (your city).” If your town doesn’t have one, thankfully social media may be able to help.
Facebook has tons of ADHD support groups. Now, don’t get me wrong, they can be pretty overwhelming and not always great at the “support” part unfortunately, but they can be a wealth of information.
In the quest for how to get diagnosed with ADHD in adults, these groups can be very helpful. Find a big one and ask if anyone has found a really great doctor or therapist that understands their ADHD in or near your area. You may find some recommendations that are close which is awesome! You might find some that are possible but inconvenient. Which might still be worth it.
Use Your Network
Have a friend with ADHD? Ask you they see. If you have supportive friends that do not have ADHD and you feel comfortable enough to ask, see if they know any adults with ADHD who might have a solid recommendation on who to see for an evaluation.
Does your child have ADHD? Ask their doctor if they have any suggestions for who to see for getting diagnosed as an adult with ADHD.
A Few ADHD Therapists that Could Help with Getting Diagnosed as an Adult with ADHD
While this list is pretty short, in case it’s helpful, I’m including a few people that I know who are knowledgeable on the topic.
- Charles Freeman: San Diego, CA
- Deborah Van Wieren: Hendersonville, NC
- Melissa Cahill: Pasadena, CA
- Joanne Scott: Anaheim Hills, CA
- Debbie Duquette: Huntsville, AL
- Cari Teran: Seal Beach, CA
- Dana Blu Cohen: in person in NYC & online in NY and CA states
- Jeanene Wolfe: Online in VA
- Debra Kanter Klaus: North Bethesda, MD
- Cheryl Garland: W Des Moines and Knoxville, IA
- Lisa Klerekoper: South Riding, VA
- Tiffaney Gibbons: San Antonio, TX
- Danyale Weems: Carrollton, GA
- Regina Isaias: Valencia & Ventura, CA
- Sharon Beam: Cross Roads, TX
More Info on Getting Diagnosed as an Adult with ADHD
You’ve found someone who looks like they might be a good fit. As much as many of us dislike calling someone, don’t skip out on contacting them for more info. Email if you must ?. This further increases the chances that the clinician will be a decent fit or at least knowledgeable about ADHD in adults.
What to Say When You Call
Even the best laid plans aren’t fool proof. You could do your due diligence and still end up with a doctor with some outdated information. These steps just make it more likely that you will find someone helpful.
Once you decide to email or call, it’s a great time to ask a few questions that can better help you determine if this person is a good fit.
You might ask things like:
- Do you treat Adults with ADHD?
- Do you do ADHD evaluations for diagnosis in adults?
- How many adults with ADHD do you treat?
- Do you have any special training with ADHD?
- Do you include any tests or family components to your evaluation?
- Are you accepting new patients?
If they are not accepting new patients ask if they know of another doctor or therapist who is very knowledgeable about ADHD in adults.
What does a good ADHD assessment include?
When you go for an evaluation, be prepared to discuss your symptoms over your life. Your clinician will want to know if you experienced similar challenges in childhood.
If you can’t remember, ask someone who knew you then. Were you messy? Forgetful? Get in trouble for talking too much or distracting people? Those kinds of examples can be helpful.
Organize yourself and the information that you might need to communicate to the doctor. Obviously organization isn’t our strength so give yourself the time to thing about it, explore with others, and write down your findings.
“Winging it” usually doesn’t end well in these cases. For some ideas of information that might be helpful for your evaluation, check out the ADHD test for women. It gives some examples of things that many women with ADHD expereince.
A good assessment should include a long conversation with the doctor or therapist about your symptoms. It often includes information from other people in your life about the symptoms they see in you. Sometimes it includes sustained attention evaluations done on a computer. These computer assessments are a helpful aid but shouldn’t diagnose ADHD on their own.
For more symptoms you might discuss with your doctor check here:
Connect with Me
What are your best tips for finding a knowledgeable ADHD professional? Has it been a struggle to get a good assessment? Leave me a comment; I want to hear your feedback.