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You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about personal risk factors and/or experience with ADHD. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in treatment. Because ADHD reaches into every corner of life, dedicated involvement of close family and friends are vital to successful treatment.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else to your appointment with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • If you are not happy with your doctor, find a new one. You are in this for the long haul.

Specific Questions to Ask Your doctor
About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • I understand this is a tricky diagnosis to make. Can you reassure me that it is correct?
  • Are other conditions also present?
About Treatment Options
  • Can we create a comprehensive list of all the interventions we need to make—at school, at home, in the family, and with medicines?
  • What other health professionals should we invite onto our treatment team?
  • Do you recommend medicine? If so,
    • Can you assure me that this medicine is necessary and at the proper dose?
    • For how long will the medicine be necessary?
    • Please tell me everything I need to be aware of when using this medicine.
  • Other than medicine, what treatments do you recommend?
  • What kinds of alternative options are available?
  • How often should I schedule return visits?
About Lifestyle Changes
  • May we sit down and plan together all the areas we need to deal with—such as school, home, family and medicines?
  • What is the best schooling plan for this case of ADHD?
  • Do you recommend a change of school, occupation, or working environment?
About Your Outlook
  • What can I expect in the future?
  • How can I arrange my life to get the most out of it?
    • Educational goals
    • Vocational goals
    • Family and social expectations
References:

ADHD basics. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/adhd/Pages/ADHD-Basics.aspx. Accessed August 14, 2012.

ADHD. The Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/learning/adhd.html. Accessed August 14, 2012.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 11, 2012. Accessed August 14, 2012.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 25, 2012. Accessed August 14, 2012.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/what-is-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder.shtml. Accessed August 14, 2012.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Management. American Family Physician. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd.html. Accessed August 14, 2012.

Stern T, Rosenbaum J, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch S. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008.

Last reviewed September 2013 by Kari Kassir, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.