ADD and ADHD

Updated: Apr 30, 2019




ADD and ADHD are becoming common terms in today's vernacular, and they are a common diagnosis that parents seek when they notice certain behaviors in their children. People are quick to use ADD and ADHD as a label, stereotype or even an adjective to describe certain behaviors.


What is not often understood, is the complexity of ADD as a genetic, brain-based syndrome that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviors.


ADD shares many symptoms with so many other conditions, so it is imperative that it is diagnosed by an experienced practitioner. Treatment plans differ tremendously across diagnoses. There is no one-size-fits all, and there is certainly no quick fix. With the ultimate goal of helping a child feel successful and empowered to achieve their goals, it is important to understand that it might be necessary to seek several opinions to confirm the appropriate diagnosis.


Below, we have included a summary from the ADDitudemag.com resource site regarding who can diagnose and treat ADD.


At Pediatrics at the Meadows, we are committed to ensuring your child receives the most accurate diagnosis and treatment. It is always in your best interest to have a pediatrician who recognizes their own limitations. In cases where we do not feel equipped to make the appropriate diagnosis, we WILL refer you to a specialist who we feel would be best suited to set your child up for success. Many times, we will provide follow up treatment. We recognize that this approach isn't always convenient for parents, but it is certainly in your child's best medical interest.


Who Can Diagnose ADHD?

How is ADHD/ADD diagnosed? Who can make that diagnosis? Should you see an MD, PhD, LCSW, or some other specialist? Here’s an overview of the titles and job descriptions that quickly confuse parents and adults seeking answers to their questions about symptoms of attention deficit.

BY ADDITUDE EDITORS


How Is ADHD Diagnosed? And By Whom?

Choosing the appropriate professional to conduct an ADHD diagnosis — and oversee the subsequent treatment — can be difficult, and confusing. Each specialty has its strengths and weaknesses to consider. Here is a short list of who does what when it comes to diagnosing attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) .


The Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist, an M.D. who treats the brain, may prescribe medication or other treatment.

Advantages:

  • Trained in diagnosis

  • Able to diagnose, prescribe medication and treat.


Disadvantages

  • Cost — fees usually start at about $200 an hour and go up from there.

  • While psychiatrists can diagnose and treat, they may not be trained in counseling, especially in the areas of day-to-day life skills which may be needed by the person who has ADHD.

The Psychologist

A psychologist understands how the mind works, but is not an M.D. and cannot prescribe medications. If the psychologist feels that medications are called for, he or she will have to refer the patient to either a medical doctor or a psychiatrist.

Advantages:

  • Trained in diagnosis

  • Trained in counseling

  • Cost less than a psychiatrist

Disadvantages

  • Cannot prescribe medications

  • Need to refer for MRI or any other testing which could assist in diagnosis.


Your Family Doctor

Most family doctors know of ADHD, but may lack the extensive knowledge of more specialized professionals.

Advantages:

  • Is already familiar with you and your medical history

  • Is usually easier to see for an appointment

  • Can prescribe medications if needed

  • Less expensive

Disadvantages

  • May have limited experience with ADHD, especially in adults

  • Cannot offer counseling

  • Brief office visits often mean a hurried diagnosis

The Nurse Practitioner

Often working with a general practitioner — although in many states nurse practitioners work independently in diagnosing and prescribing medication — the nurse practitioner offers many of the same benefits and drawbacks as a family doctor.


Advantages:

  • Is usually easier to see for an appointment

  • Can prescribe medications if needed

  • Less expensive

Disadvantages

  • May not offer counseling (although many nurse practitioners, especially psychiatric nurse practitioners, are trained equally in the medical treatment of mental health disorders as well as therapeutic interventions, including counseling)

The Neurologist

A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in treatment of the brain and central nervous system.

Advantages:

  • Can determine if other conditions such as seizure disorder are present.

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive

  • EEG testing for ADHD isn’t needed for diagnosis or treatment

  • Patient must be referred for any counseling or therapy

The Master Level Counselor

A Master level counselor has a master’s degree in either psychology or counseling. They may be able to do an initial assessment if they have the appropriate training.

Advantages:

  • Is able to provide counseling, behavior management, and problem solving

  • Less expensive than psychiatric care

Disadvantages:

  • May have trouble with a differential diagnosis (identifying other possible problems)

  • Will need to refer patient to a doctor or other professional

  • Cannot prescribe medication


The Social Worker

A Master of Social Welfare (MSW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is often employed by an agency (for example, public healthcare resources) to provide counseling to people served by the agency.

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive

Disadvantages:

  • May have trouble with a differential diagnosis (identifying other possible problems)

  • Will need to refer patient to a doctor or other professional

  • Cannot prescribe medication

2352 Meadows Blvd. Suite 170

Castle Rock, CO 80109

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303-688-5226