Find a Connection
Your family's ADHD doctor should be more than a clinical encyclopedia. He should be able to share a joke or laugh at himself, and to want to get to know you. He should ask you about things that have nothing to do with what brought you to his office.
We psychiatrists boast that the profession is more evidence-based than in the past, and that our diagnostic criteria for attention deficit are based upon objective symptoms and behaviors, not subjective intuitions. But while the science has progressed, our implementation of it has grown impersonal.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD lends itself to this mechanistic model. The diagnosis depends upon identifying six or more symptoms from one or two lists. To compound the problem, many people with ADHD want to cut to the chase, get their prescription, and leave.
So if your doctor says, “Whoa! Slow down!” that’s great! Another good sign is a doctor who asks you questions, talks with you or your child about day-to-day life, and sets up a treatment plan that includes several simultaneous approaches — medication combined with behavioral therapy, say.
A doctor should give you time to ask questions about medication, if it is recommended, and encourage you to call him if you notice side effects or other problems.
Next: The Bad Doctor