Talking to Your Doctor about Your Symptoms

To get the most out of your first meeting with your physician concerning ADHD, it is good to arrive having “done your homework.” Before you meet, it is best if you and a significant other have completed rating scales about your symptoms, Be sure to have the scale (what is significant) printed out, along with the results, so that the physician can understand what the results mean. It is also good to know if your physician is comfortable treating ADHD with what are known as “first tier treatments,” i.e. stimulants. Many pediatricians, internists and family doctors are not comfortable prescribing these, and will simply nod, smile, and then refer you on to psychiatry. Prepare for a wait. 
 Unless your HMO requires a gatekeeper visit, if they are not comfortable prescribing stimulants, you can just save time and go straight to the specialist. If the pediatrician, family doctor, or internist is comfortable with stimulants, then be clear what this stage of the process is about. Your physician will need to screen for alternative medical bases for your symptoms and rule them out, along with other mental health conditions that could mimic ADHD symptoms.
If you are viscerally opposed on principal to medications, you are probably not going to get them from your doctor. You may never learn what their potential could be for improving your life. I suggest an open empirical position of curiosity. If you have been diagnosed as ADHD by a Mental Health Professional, i.e., have come up highly significant on rating scales, keeping an open mind to seeing the possible benefit of this tool will be the most revealing stance. If you are a good stimulant responder, and your doctor properly performs the titration process of selecting specific medication and tuning it to your precise optimal dose (vs. a simply improved state), research suggests your chances of a good result are about 90%. 
 Not an outcome I would think you would want to miss out on based on a vague “bad feeling” about medication… but it is of course, up to you.

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