Not Your Guru

So, you have an ADHD diagnosis. Now what?

Many parents have described to me the utter distress of receiving a diagnosis and then being told by the therapist or physician who performed the testing that they must now look elsewhere for treatment. The number one question is where to start.

First, if you find an option that claims they will “cure” your ADHD - RUN! Run fast!! They are not your guru! To date, there is no cure for ADHD, but there are several treatment options that can offer you relief from some symptoms and there are even more ways to work with a professional to create scaffolding to support the executive function deficits that exist.

So, where DO you start? My first line of defense has always been my primary care provider. They know you better than any other doc, more than likely. If you trust them for other issues, it is often helpful to take your diagnosis to them to tease apart your next steps.

While I find that I am often more informed than my child's pediatrician regarding medication options, I also have taken the time to research the options and readily share that data with my child's prescriber. We're a team, after all! We feel fortunate to have found a practice that (a)believes in treatment and (b)has been a true partner in treatment. Everyone should expect as much of their primary care team. If that isn’t your experience, it might be time to find a new provider who will partner with you (and/or your child).

Many generalists get a hot second of education on topics like ADHD, sleep, exercise, and nutrition while in medical school, so they may not be experts on a topic you bring to them. Sometimes I find I am bringing the annals of knowledge into these appointments and using my doc’s ability to help me decipher where to look next or if I have exhausted the topic. And sometimes we both leave the appointments with homework.

But before you go, write down all of your questions and concerns, and determine what your goal is for the appointment. Not sure where to start? Here are a few places that might get your started:

  1. ADHD FACTS: The CDC has a great web page on ADHD that might offer some place to begin:

  2. ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS: You can also research alternative and complimentary treatments and the latest data behind them on the National Institute of Health’s website here: •

  3. SUPPORT: can help you find professionals and support groups in your area.

Your journey is just beginning. Welcome to the tribe.