Who can diagnose ADHD?

There are so many health professionals who can diagnose and treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that it can be overwhelming and confused to find someone. Before you start looking for a doctor or healthcare professional, be clear about your goals.

You should consider some important issues. Do you need a diagnosis of ADHD? Which type of treatment do you prefer?

For example, are you looking for a professional who can prescribe medication, or someone who can teach you or your child practical ways to deal with ADHD? Knowing your goals will help you search more easily.

Professionals diagnosing ADHD

If you are concerned about whether you or your child may have ADHD, the first step is to talk to a healthcare provider. There are many types of professionals who can diagnose ADHD.


The doctor is usually the first provider you contact for a diagnosis of ADHD. All doctors on this list have a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree, which means they are studying in medical school.

  • Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. They usually understand other diseases that may coexist with ADHD, such as depression and anxiety.
  • Pediatricians (general): Although qualified to diagnose ADHD in children, these doctors may not have time to conduct an extensive evaluation.
  • Developmental pediatricians: General pediatricians deal with all aspects of children’s health, while developmental pediatricians specialize in developmental and behavioral problems, such as ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities. These experts are an excellent source of initial diagnosis in children.​​​
  • Family doctors: These doctors are qualified to diagnose ADHD; however, they may lack the extensive knowledge of more specialized professionals. Some people may prefer to recommend you to other experts in their network.
  • Neurologist: A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in the brain and nervous system. Neurologists use brain imaging and physiological tests to determine whether symptoms are caused by ADHD or other diseases in the brain.


Psychologists have advanced degrees in psychology, such as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Psychologists have doctorates and are called “doctors”, but they are not doctors.

State laws that permit psychologists vary. But in most states, psychologists can diagnose ADHD and other mental health disorders, but most cannot prescribe drugs.

Nurse practitioner

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has obtained a master’s or doctorate degree in the nursing profession. NPs with psychiatric expertise can assess and diagnose ADHD and other mental health conditions in children and adults. NP can also be prescribed.


The term “consultant” covers a wide range of professionals who have received specialized training in specific types of treatments. Licensed mental health consultants (LMHC) and licensed professional consultants (LPC) are qualified to complete the initial evaluation and provide a diagnosis of ADHD, but some will refer patients to a psychologist or psychiatrist for more in-depth evaluation Or prescribe medication.

Professionals who treat ADHD

Any doctor who continues to receive ADHD and mental health education can treat ADHD. However, only certain medical professionals can prescribe medication. These include doctors (including psychiatrists, pediatricians, family doctors, and neurologists) and nurse practitioners (NP). If a doctor’s assistant (PA) works under the supervision of a doctor, they can also write a prescription.

In addition to these professionals, you can also go to other professionals for ADHD treatment.Although they are not Eligible to prescribe drugs, these experts can provide other forms of treatment:

  • Psychologist: In addition to diagnosing ADHD, clinical psychologists are also experts in providing psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and family therapy.
  • Occupational therapist: Occupational therapist is trained to solve the skills that children need to play a role in daily life, such as self-regulation, executive function and interpersonal skills.
  • Speech and language pathologist: ADHD often occurs at the same time as language disorders. Speech-language pathologists can assess communication skills, develop personalized treatment plans, and provide treatment to help maximize the potential for language use and communication skills.
  • Behavioral therapists: These mental health consultants can provide individual and group therapy to develop strategies to manage or change behavior.
  • Educational experts: In addition to helping children get school accommodation, these experts also teach skills to succeed in school. They can also teach organizational skills.

How to choose the right expert

Choosing the right professional to diagnose and treat your ADHD usually starts with talking to your primary care doctor. Your doctor may diagnose you, refer you to other professionals in your area, or direct you to other resources that may be helpful.

Find a specialist in your area who specializes in treating ADHD. Children and adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (CHADD) provide a directory of professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD or have experience in diagnosis and treatment. Although it is convenient to have a professional who meets all your needs, more often people need a small group of professionals. Every professional will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need for excellence.

There are many things you should be aware of when looking for a healthcare provider. Questions you should ask include:

  • How is their communication? The best mental health providers are well-trained, non-judgmental, and good at communication. Your doctor or team should be able to answer your questions, discuss your concerns, and evaluate your needs.
  • Do they have experience? If you are an adult with ADHD, ask if they have experience with adult ADHD. If you are looking for professionals for your child, ask about their experience with children and childhood ADHD.
  • What is their treatment philosophy? Ask them about their treatments for ADHD to determine if they are suitable for your needs.
  • How much will it cost? Find out whether professionals accept your insurance and whether their services will be covered by your plan. If not, please ask if they offer discounts or floating charges for patients paying in cash.

If you have narrowed it down to a few experts, but still can’t decide, choose the one you feel most comfortable with. Maintaining a good relationship with your doctors and health professionals is conducive to the treatment, management and life of ADHD.

Things to consider

If your current doctor or health professional cannot meet your needs, it is also important to know when to look for different professionals. For example, if you feel that your doctor has not listened to your concerns about your symptoms, medications, or side effects, you should consider obtaining a second opinion.

If you feel that you are not getting enough information about treatment options or the potential side effects of different ADHD medications, you may also want to find another professional.

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Finding the right professional to diagnose ADHD can help you get treatment that is right for you or your child. You can talk to your primary care doctor or paediatrician first, and they can refer you to an ADHD professional in your area. Other options include calling a referral service or using an online search tool.

Treatment options may vary, but may involve medication, treatment, or a combination of the two. Knowledgeable and experienced professionals can help you determine which method best suits your needs.