There are several types of professionals who typically diagnose ADHD. These include doctors (especially psychiatrists, pediatricians, internists, and family physicians), psychologists (including school psychologists), social workers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other licensed therapists (for example, professional counselors and marriage and family therapists).
One major question for newly diagnosed people is: Who can prescribe ADHD medications? While all of the professionals listed above can treat ADHD, only certain ones can prescribe medication and do thorough physical evaluations to rule out other possible causes of symptoms. These professionals are doctors (either a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy), nurse practitioners, and physician assistants supervised by a doctor.
Because medication is a key part of ADHD treatment, it is important that all members of your treatment team communicate with each other on a regular basis.
Your Child's Health Care Team
Other members of your child's care team may be nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, and other therapists (such as counselors and family therapists).
If your child needs medication, the doctor or nurse practitioner will decide on the medication and monitor symptoms and side effects until the right dose is found. The diagnostic process also should rule out any other disorders that may look like ADHD.
Adult Health Care Team
ADHD in adults is often diagnosed by the primary care doctor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist.
To diagnose ADHD in adults, the doctor will need a history of the adult's behavior as a child. The doctor may also interview the patient's spouse, partner, parents, and friends, as well as look at the person's records, including report cards and transcripts, to determine if a patient's difficulties have lasted a while. The doctor may also use psychological testing.