How do I Choose the Best ADHD Therapist?

Maggie Worth

Choosing the best possible ADHD therapist can make the difference between successful management of the disorder and increased frustration. As with most things, the 'best' therapist is the one who is most able to assist a patient with the specific issues facing him. While some symptoms are common to most ADHD patients, people experience the disorder in different ways. It is important to consider patient factors such as age, the presence or absence of the hyperactivity component and the degree of disorder presentation as well as therapist factors such as experience, methodology and accessibility. It is also critical to consider whether or not the patient wishes to use medication-assisted therapy.

Age can affect how a patient views and receives ADHD therapy.
Age can affect how a patient views and receives ADHD therapy.

Age, in particular, can affect how a patient views and receives therapy. A young child with ADHD, for example, is unable to understand the complexities of how the condition affects him. The best ADHD therapist is one who can help manage the ADHD symptoms in a simple, straightforward and positive way. An adult ADHD patient, on the other hand, is likely to be intensely angry, present strong feelings of insufficiency or feel as though he should be able to "fix" or "outgrow" the condition. He will need a therapist who can help him manage both the functional affects of ADHD and the emotional ones.

Some therapists may be more qualified than others to deal with the hyperactivity component of ADHD.
Some therapists may be more qualified than others to deal with the hyperactivity component of ADHD.

Understanding how ADHD affects the patient is another important factor when choosing a therapist. The disorder can present with or without the hyperactivity component, but since the vast majority of attention deficit patients are also hyperactive, some therapists may be unsure how to treat an individual that does not present hyperactivity. Other conditions such as anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand with ADHD and some experts believe that individuals who lack the hyperactivity component have a significantly greater risk of developing these additional conditions. The best therapist for a given patient will be the one who understands all the components of the disorder and can help the patient manage those that affect him.

The degree to which the disorder affects a patient's daily life can vary drastically. Someone who presents a low level of ADHD may be quite comfortable with a general therapist who can also help develop coping strategies for ADHD. Someone who presents with a high level of ADHD should seek out a therapist with experience and training in dealing with the disorder.

When considering therapist factors, most people consider the level of the therapist's experience and the methods used to treat the disorder. In particular, many people have strong feelings about whether prescription medications are or are not desirable. The best ADHD therapist is one that will respect the patient's preferences regarding treatment, while still attempting to provide the best possible care. Remember that only psychiatrists can prescribe medications, so medication-assisted therapy will require that such an individual be involved or will require that the therapist work in conjunction with the patient's regular doctor to adjust type, frequency and dosage of medications until they reach the maximum safe effectiveness for the patient.

Accessibly is also key to selecting an ADHD therapist. ADHD patients benefit from consistency, so choose a therapist whose price or insurance acceptance, coupled with his schedule of appointments, allows for regular visits. Family therapy may also be a consideration, as ADHD is a disorder that often affects not only the patient, but those around him as well.

ADHD therapists might be able to determine the cause of hyperactivity in children.
ADHD therapists might be able to determine the cause of hyperactivity in children.

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