What Healthcare Professionals Can Diagnose and Treat ADHD

See a healthcare professional specializing in ADHD treatment. Get your symptoms checked and receive personalized recommendations online.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health [1*] , the rate of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in U.S. adults is 4.4%. ADHD is a specialty condition, so not every medical practitioner can diagnose and treat it. Moreover, some healthcare professionals can assess symptoms and make a diagnosis but cannot make a treatment plan and prescribe medication. Read on to better understand who can diagnose ADHD, who treats ADHD, and who can provide psychotherapy or prescribe medication.

What Should You Do If You Suspect ADHD?

ADHD has various symptoms and can remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for many reasons. It’s also common for people with ADHD signs to deny they have it. That is why only an ADHD doctor or another healthcare practitioner specializing in this disorder can set matters straight by giving a proper ADHD diagnosis.

The symptoms of ADHD are sometimes confused with personality disorders [2*] and other mental health conditions like depression [3*] and anxiety [4*] . In other cases, a tendency to be disorganized and impulsive might be considered a normal personal trait. However, ADHD is a medical condition, and its symptoms can significantly affect a person’s quality of life.

Start with a self-evaluation
Learn more about ADHD symptoms to understand if you need to see a healthcare provider.

Who Can Diagnose and Treat ADHD in Adults

Even though general practitioners can help point out ADHD symptoms, not all of them are qualified to offer specific treatments. Considering the great chance of ADHD misdiagnosis, it’s best to see a clinician specializing in treating this condition. Following is a list of ADHD specialists, including those who can prescribe ADHD medicines.

  • Can diagnose ADHD
  • Able to prescribe medications
  • Can provide psychotherapy and behavior training

Psychiatrists are qualified to provide ADHD testing, including symptom assessment and psychological evaluation, and diagnose the disorder. They can prescribe ADHD medication, such as stimulants or non-stimulants, and may offer counseling and psychotherapy. Psychiatrists may also refer patients to other mental health professionals, such as therapists, for behavioral training.

  • Can diagnose ADHD
  • Able to prescribe medications
  • Can provide counseling, but usually don’t

Primary care doctors can diagnose ADHD based on symptoms and medical history. They may prescribe medication for ADHD. Some primary care providers may offer counseling or therapy, but many refer patients to mental health specialists for that.

  • Can diagnose ADHD
  • Able to prescribe medications
  • Cannot provide counseling (except for psychiatrists)

Medical Doctors (MDs) including psychiatrists are often called upon to provide complex assessments and confirm diagnoses, ruling out underlying conditions. They can prescribe different medications and tailor treatment plans to the patient’s specific needs. MDs can offer advanced therapeutic options, including non-pharmacological treatments such as neurofeedback or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for ADHD when appropriate.

A detailed overview of ADHD medications
Read our guide to know the difference between stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD medications and their effects.
  • Can diagnose ADHD
  • Able to prescribe medications
  • Cannot provide counseling

Family doctors can be the first point of contact for those displaying signs of ADHD. These professionals provide comprehensive evaluations by obtaining details about past medical history, developmental milestones, and present symptoms. Family doctors can also recommend behavioral therapy and refer patients to relevant specialists. In addition, they can prescribe common stimulants and non-stimulants for ADHD.

  • Assist in a comprehensive diagnosis
  • Able to prescribe medications
  • Don’t provide counseling

Physicians perform comprehensive evaluations of the patient’s medical history and symptoms. These assessments are essential to rule out any other medical or mental disorder with similar symptoms. These professionals can also assist with ADHD treatment by closely monitoring the effectiveness of medications and their side effects, making adjustments as necessary.

  • Can diagnose ADHD
  • Can prescribe medications for ADHD
  • Do not perform psychotherapy

Neurologists can diagnose ADD in adults, especially when it’s paired with neurological concerns or comorbid conditions. They can prescribe ADHD medication. Neurologists do not typically provide therapy but can refer patients to other specialists.

  • Can assist in the diagnosis of ADHD
  • Help with medication management
  • Assist with behavioral therapies

NPs can use standardized screening tools such as the ADHD Rating Scale to conduct comprehensive evaluations. They can apply their clinical expertise to observing patients’ behavior and gathering a detailed medical history. They can also facilitate collaborative conversations with patients and their families, creating a complete picture of their experiences and difficulties with ADHD.

  • Assist in ADHD diagnosis
  • Prescribe ADHD medications under supervision
  • Cannot provide counseling or behavior therapy
Physician Assistants may collaborate with other experts, such as psychiatrists, to conduct more comprehensive assessments for ADHD under supervision. PAs play a significant role in educating patients and their families about ADHD, its effects, and current treatments, utilizing their knowledge of the condition. They provide ongoing support to their patients by scheduling regular follow-up appointments, monitoring their progress, addressing concerns, and ensuring they work closely with other medical specialists involved in their care.
  • Can diagnose ADHD
  • Cannot prescribe medications
  • Able to provide counseling and behavior therapy
Psychologists can diagnose ADHD through mental health assessments and evaluations. They cannot prescribe medicines but refer patients to psychiatrists or other medical professionals for medication management. Psychologists are well-qualified to provide counseling, therapy, and behavior training for individuals with ADHD.
ADHD has various features
Learn more about the three types of ADHD, their symptoms, and the unique challenges they may cause.
  • Cannot diagnose ADHD
  • Cannot prescribe medications
  • Able to provide counseling and psychotherapy

Professional counselors and social workers are not typically qualified to diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder but can provide professional support and mental health therapy. They cannot prescribe ADHD medication for adults but specialize in counseling, therapy, and behavior training.

  • Cannot diagnose ADHD
  • Cannot prescribe medications
  • Able to assist in behavior modification and therapy

These professionals can assist in the diagnosis process by learning about the patient’s social and familial background, with their proficiency in psychosocial assessments and knowledge of the social determinants of health. Social workers can also offer psychoeducation to help people and families understand the difficulties related to ADHD and explore coping mechanisms. They play an essential role in assisting patients to find local resources and support services.

Can Online Doctors Diagnose and Treat ADHD?

Online doctors with suitable qualifications can diagnose and treat ADHD in adults through virtual consultations. They can gather information about symptoms and medical history and conduct online assessments to make an initial diagnosis.

Once they have made a formal diagnosis, an online doctor can prescribe medications if necessary and offer counseling or therapy. It’s important to consult with a licensed healthcare professional who is experienced in ADHD diagnosis and treatment, whether in-person or online, to ensure you receive appropriate care.

How is ADHD treated?
Find out the details of pharmacological treatment for ADHD, psychotherapy, and self-help techniques.

Choosing an ADHD Specialist: Things to Consider

To ensure you get the finest care, it’s essential to consider several factors when choosing doctors who treat ADHD in adults:

  • Credentials and Qualifications: Ensure that the specialist is a licensed healthcare professional with expertise in ADHD.
  • Experience: Look for a medical provider with experience diagnosing and treating ADHD.
  • Reviews: Asking friends, family, or support groups for referrals or reading reviews will help you evaluate professionals.
  • Treatment Approaches: Ask the specialist about their treatment methods. While some integrate counseling or behavioral treatment, others emphasize medication management. Select a healthcare professional whose approach to treatment matches your preferences.
  • Communication Style: It’s essential to communicate clearly with your provider. Ensure the professional discusses your requirements and preferences and that you feel at ease addressing your worries.
  • Accessibility: Think about the specialist’s location and availability if you plan in-person consultations. However, you can also have online appointments at MEDvidi where location is not important—you can see an ADHD expert from the comfort of your home.
  • Follow-ups and Support: Ask the specialist about their follow-up methods and continuing assistance. Long-term care and ongoing support are frequently necessary for managing ADHD.

How Do Doctors Diagnose ADHD in Adults?

There is no single test for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A healthcare professional has to conduct several tests to rule out the possibility of other mental health disorders with symptoms similar to ADHD. A specialist who diagnoses ADHD uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This guide lists all the symptoms of ADHD in adults, among other conditions. Also, a clinician can use the following methods:

Interviewing the spouse and family members of the adult with ADHD. Having more than one respondent increases the accuracy of the diagnosis.

Reviewing family history for possibilities of inherited ADHD or early childhood causes.

Using ADHD rating scales to determine the presence and seriousness of symptoms.

However, specific approaches may vary from one doctor to another, but the final result always depends on standard criteria.
Basics of diagnosing ADHD
Explore diagnostic criteria for ADHD, from signs and symptoms to additional features.
There are various doctors for ADHD diagnosis and treatment. Today, you can get professional support and empowerment from certified healthcare professionals online, making this path more convenient. If you’re wondering where to find a qualified ADD specialist, book an appointment at MEDvidi today. We have healthcare providers specializing in ADHD treatment, so you can receive comprehensive personalized recommendations and take a step toward a healthier life.
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Frequently Asked Questions
ADHD medications can be prescribed by medical doctors, including psychiatrists, and some nurse practitioners who have specific qualifications. Note that regulations may vary by state.
ADHD medications, particularly stimulants, can be prescribed by licensed psychiatrists and medical doctors.

When consulting with a doctor about ADHD, it’s important to be transparent and upfront about your symptoms and concerns. You should also provide any relevant medical history and family history related to ADHD. It’s crucial to explain how ADHD symptoms affect your daily life.

You can consult both a psychiatrist and a psychologist for ADHD. Psychologists can conduct assessments to make a diagnosis and provide talk therapy. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, are doctors who can diagnose the condition and prescribe medication if needed.
Through evaluations, therapists such as psychologists can identify ADHD, but only medical specialists (medical doctors, psychiatrists) are authorized to prescribe medication.
ADHD can be diagnosed by neurologists, but they treat the condition less frequently. When seeking an evaluation and treatment alternatives, it is preferable to start with a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Learn more about ADHD


4 sources
  1. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
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  2. Adult ADHD and comorbid disorders: clinical implications of a dimensional approach
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  3. Adult ADHD and comorbid depression: A consensus-derived diagnostic algorithm for ADHD
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  4. Anxiety disorders in adult ADHD: A frequent comorbidity and a risk factor for externalizing problems
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