Reviewed by Heather Cashell, LCSW
If you or your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you may benefit from working with a mental health professional. There are many different reasons why this can be a benefit. But it's important to know what to look for when choosing a mental professional. It's not always as easy as just Googling "ADHD psychiatrist near me."
Understanding The Options For Professional Help
Before looking for the right mental health professional to work with, it's important to understand the different types of professionals that are out there. Terms like therapist and counselor are often interchanged, but there are different professionals who have different specialties. This impacts the services that they are able to offer you.
For example, a psychologist is someone who is able to provide different forms of therapy for treatment. One of the most common types of therapy that people recognize is psychotherapy, which is also known as talk therapy. There are many different specialties that psychologists can have, or they can work with anyone in the general public.
Another example of a mental health professional that you may want to work with for ADHD is a psychiatrist. It's not uncommon for people to mix up psychologists and psychiatrists, thinking that they provide the same services. However, while the names sound similar, they are different professions. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is able to write prescriptions for medication. Psychologists do not have this ability. While there are some psychiatrists who also provide therapy services, the majority of them tend to stick to the medical side of mental health.
Because these professionals are experts in different areas, many people find it helpful to work with both a psychologist and a psychiatrist. There are also mental health offices that provide access to both types of professionals. For example, if you're working with a psychologist and going to therapy, they may have access to a psychiatrist who is able to work with you if you and your therapist feel that medicine is a good form of treatment for your specific situation. This is why finding help isn't as easy as just searching for an ADHD psychiatrist near me. It's important for you to understand what type of help you're looking for in order to get started.
If you're not sure what type of help you need, your doctor or any mental health professional should be able to point you in the right direction even if they're not the right person to help you.
What To Look For When Choosing A Mental Health Professional For ADHD
Now that you know that there are different types of mental health professionals available, it's important to learn what you should be looking for when you search for someone to work with. Here are a few things that you may want to take into consideration.
While there are different forms of treatment that can work for multiple mental health challenges, it can be helpful to work with a professional who is experienced in working with patients that have ADHD. There are noticeable differences in scans of the ADHD brain versus the non-ADHD brain. Experts are constantly working on learning more about what causes this, and when it first begins. Finding an expert who understands that there is constantly new information in this area can be helpful in getting the best treatment available.
Children and adults with ADHD also face some unique challenges in life that others may not understand. This is another reason why it can be helpful to find a psychologist or psychiatrist that is experienced in working with others that have ADHD.
Referrals And Recommendations
You may find it helpful to look for referrals and recommendations from people that you know and trust. If you have a child struggling with ADHD, the social worker at the school they attend may be able to recommend a psychologist or psychiatrist that could help. If you know other parents who have children with ADHD, you may be able to get a recommendation from them on someone they have worked with in the past and had a good experience with.
You can also ask your physician if they have any recommendations. While your doctor may be able to prescribe medication for ADHD, there can be added benefits of working with a psychiatrist who has a greater understanding and specialty in the field of mental health.
The same thing is true if you are an adult who struggles with ADHD. If you know of others who have similar struggles, you can ask them for any recommendations that they have. Word of mouth can be helpful for choosing a professional to work with because you can gain somewhat of an understanding of what you can expect.
However, there is a word of caution for referrals and recommendations. The right mental health professional for one person is not necessarily the right one for someone else. Referrals and recommendations can be a good starting place but should not be the only thing that you take into consideration.
Another thing that's important to take into consideration when choosing a mental health professional to work with for ADHD is your comfort level. This can take many different forms. When talking about struggles and challenges that you're facing with your health, physical or mental, it's important to have a professional that you can feel comfortable talking to and being open with.
This can look in different ways. It may be that you're comfortable working with an older professional or a younger one. It may be that you're more comfortable working with a certain gender. Or it may be just a certain personality style that you connect with the best.
In order for you to get the best treatment possible for ADHD and other mental challenges, it's important that you're comfortable talking to and sharing with the professionals that you work with. If you meet with someone and you just don't feel comfortable, even if you don't know why it may be in your best interest to find someone else. You don't need to apologize or feel bad about switching to a different psychiatrist or psychologist. Your comfort level is important in getting the treatment that you need.
Another thing that you may want to consider when looking for a psychologist or psychiatrist to treat your ADHD is what options they provide for telehealth. You may not be comfortable for many different reasons going out of your house and into a professional's office. This could be if you have other health concerns, or it could just be that you're more comfortable talking about these personal matters when not being face to face with someone. Whatever the reason is, if you are more comfortable with telehealth options, feel free to explore this when looking for the mental health professional.
When it comes to medication, there are options for getting a prescription through telehealth services. However, there may be some instances when this is not the case. But it never hurts to ask if that's what you're most comfortable with.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, more and more professionals have been taking their services online, which makes it easier to find telehealth options now.
One other thing that you may want to consider when looking for a professional to work with is any health insurance options that you have available. Depending on the specifics of your situation, your health insurance may cover some or all of the mental health care that you're seeking. You may have some coverage options for therapy or medications.
However, it's important to know that not all insurance plans will provide coverage, and not all mental health professionals will accept insurance. These are important questions to ask before seeking care.
If you have insurance, you can reach out to the company to have them explain what coverage options are available, if any. When you are contacting potential mental health professionals to work with, it's important to ask and understand what the fees are and if they are willing to work with your insurance company.
It Needs To Feel Right To You
While there are plenty of things that you can consider when looking for a psychologist or ADHD psychiatrist near you, the most important thing is that it feels right to you. There can be a professional who has the highest reviews and credentials, but if you're not comfortable meeting with them, then it's not your best solution.
You want to find a professional who you're comfortable with and one who is willing to listen to you and treat you like an individual. When it comes to mental health challenges, there is no one solution that works for every single person. There are many different treatment options available, and you want to find a professional that will help you create the best treatment plan to meet your specific needs and challenges.
If you're wondering if ADHD is something that you're struggling with, you may benefit from taking this online ADHD quiz. This can help give you a greater understanding of the challenges that you may be facing to help you explore your options for treatment.