Finding a Doctor and Help for Adult ADHD

Funny portrait of father and daughter
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If you are an adult with ADHD, you are not alone. Many adults, both fathers, and mothers, first learn about ADHD when their own child is diagnosed. As they describe their child’s symptoms to the doctor, they begin to feel that they are describing their own life. Looking back, childhood things finally begin to make more sense. There is often this “ah-ha” moment of clarity.

There are several options you may want to explore for finding help. One idea is to talk with the clinician who diagnosed your child. Ask about specialists in your area who assess and treat adult ADHD.

Primary Care Provider

If you have a good relationship with your primary care provider, you can certainly start there as well. Speak to your doctor about your concerns.

Don’t get discouraged if your primary care provider is not experienced with ADHD; instead, ask for a referral to an ADHD specialist.

However, when you initially voice your concerns with your doctor, don't be afraid to speak honestly about any questions or worries that you might have.

ADHD Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Mind Doc Guide

State Psychiatric Association or Psychological Association

State psychiatric and psychological associations usually keep a listing of professionals by specialty. Check out the following links for more information:

University Psychiatry or Psychology Departments

If you live near a university with a medical school call their psychiatry department and ask for information about local mental health professionals who are experienced in assessing and treating adult ADHD. You can also contact the school’s psychology department or psychology clinic for suggestions.

Local Hospital and Community Mental Health Center

Contact your local hospital psychiatry department or community mental health center for the same information.

ADHD Support Groups

Check to see if there is an ADHD support group in your area. Group members can often provide suggestions about local doctors who are knowledgeable about adult ADHD. To find out if you have a support group in your area check out the locator links of the following organizations:

Yellow Pages

You can also check the yellow pages for listings of local professionals who specialize in adult ADHD.

Effective Treatment Begins With Accurate Diagnosis

It is so important that the clinician who is evaluating you is knowledgeable about adult ADHD. They must be experienced in recognizing ADHD, but also in recognizing other co-occurring conditions that may be present, as well as being able to tease out other conditions that may be confused for ADHD.

Effective treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis. Misdiagnosis leads to ineffective treatment, more problems, and lots of frustration. So really do your research to find a specialist experienced in adult ADHD.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ginsberg Y, Quintero J, Anand E, Casillas M, Upadhyaya HP. Underdiagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adult patients: a review of the literaturePrim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2014;16(3):PCC.13r01600. doi:10.4088/PCC.13r01600

  2. Jain R, Jain S, Montano CB. Addressing diagnosis and treatment gaps in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorderPrim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2017;19(5):17nr02153. doi:10.4088/PCC.17nr02153

Additional Reading
  • Russell A. Barkley. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD. The Guilford Press, 2010.

By Keath Low
 Keath Low, MA, is a therapist and clinical scientist with the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina. She specializes in treatment of ADD/ADHD.