Reply To: Psychiatrist reluctant to diagnose

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I don’t have an easy answer. It took me a year and a half of working with my Physician Assistant who had initially asked about ADHD when we first met until he finally made the diagnosis. I underwent neuropsychological testing which did not indicate ADHD, but I’ve learned recently that it’s not an accurate way to test for it anyway. I guess I’d say that maybe it takes time to develop a relationship with some providers to get them to understand you enough to diagnose.

I’d also say that there’s a huge provider bias. How did this psychiatrist get recommended as an ADHD specialist? Does he bill himself that way? Or did another provider refer you? If he’s that negative, if there’s any way to seek a different provider I’d try. If you can’t, I’d try to advocate for more screenings and even bring in some validated tools like the Adult Self-Report Scale made by the World Health Organization.

Finally, there is a chance that you have depression and anxiety too. Those are fairly common with ADHD. That being said, it’s still important to identify the ADHD and treat that too. Working with a provider to state that you want to address both can be useful. Part of why it took a year and a half to reach the diagnosis is that we spent that time treating the depression and once it stabilized the ADHD symptoms remained. So, maybe there’s a chance that more time will help, but I’d guess not given the psychiatrist’s reaction. I feel for you and hope that you are able to get the support you need, and hopefully find a way to a person who is more informed and supportive.