Difference between a Specialist and a psychologist

ADHD Diagnosis by Psychiatrist or a Psychologist. How diagnosis differs.

As ADHD and ASD are Disorders affecting brain growth, activity and maturation. Specialists monitor and assess all aspects of cognitive, psychological and physical development, as well as relevant pathology.

Thus, medical specialists approach the diagnosis of a neuro-developmental condition as a stepwise, evidence-base process which may differ from that undertaken by a psychologist in a number of ways:

  • Extract all data of the mind, brain, and body to formulate a comprehensive evidence-base ‘medical’ approach towards diagnosis.
  • This includes ruling out the most common physical or medical aspects of brain and body functioning which may mimic, contribute, or falsely exaggerate ADHD symptoms or ASD behaviour.
  • Rule out the impact of general and mental health driven by medical and cognitive testing, to measure the impact, extent, and the severity of the diagnosis.
  • Offer, initiate, monitor, and observe outcomes from biological treatments to treat ADHD and coexisting medical and psychological disorders where necessary e.g., sleep, appetite, cardiac monitoring, addiction, OCD behaviours, tics, eating problems, metabolic Disorders, gynaecological problems, hormonal issues, nutritional deficiencies etc.

Since ADHD and ADHD individuals have multiple coexisting problems, a detailed medical history is undertaken and investigated not only for diagnosis, but also for treatment outcomes. Some of the most common medical oversight in ADHD is required for:

  • Genetic disorders
  • Neurological disorders such as headaches or seizures and head trauma etc.
  • A detailed sleep history and its possible treatment. This includes onset, duration, problems, and impact on general health.
  • Endocrine disorders of thyroid, oestrogen, or diabetes as well as multiple autoimmune disorders which can all be confounders for an ADHD diagnosis.
  • Providing medical assessment of gastrointestinal problems which are rampant in ADHD and often accompany anxiety disorders, review and evaluate any other medical conditions, chronic illnesses, and operative procedures.
  • Hypersensitivities and allergies to medications.
  • Rheumatological, chronic pain, and idiopathic disorders such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or sleep aopnea syndrome which have a marked effect on ADHD diagnoses process and treatment responsiveness.
  • A comprehensive understanding and tailoring of medixations as per age, gender, past history, and the patient’s updated medical resilience. Vitamins, essential supplemetns and an exercise/dietician History is also evaluated
  • A psychologist is not a medically trained professional. They are not qualified to assess and integrate the medical history in the process of ADHD/ASD diagnosis, or its biological treatment with its constitutional effect on the body.
  • Some psychologists are trained in expertise for providing data and complementary neurocogntive testing in the process of eliminating ADHD or related cognitive disorders.
  • ADHD Specialists DO NOT diagnose ADHD solely based on psychological diagnosis driven by cognitive testing, psychological questionnaires or similar interviews.
  • The ADHD Specialist is trained to approach ADHD as a Medical diagnosis driven by their medical and postgraduate specialist training. The ADHD Specialist is trained to formulate the multiple sources of information from the patient, family, partner, carer, past doctors and professionals, AND complement their medical diagnosis with the data that has been provided by psychologists.
  • In short, for all legal purposes, the diagnosis of ADHD must be endorsed by a ADHD Specialist, be it a psychiatrist, or a GP, as long as they are medical Doctors. At QANC, we believe that the role of the psychologist is not just complementary, but integral to our assessment and diagnostic pathways. We attempt to partner, liaise, and collaborate with the best psychologists on the Gold Coast, who have demonstrable qualifications and experience in addressing the needs of QANC high functioning ADHD and ASD Individuals.
  • We do not provide Psychological testing, counselling or therapies at QANC. As a part of our diagnostic proves, we will attempt to highlight only the most specific tests and allied health tests required for our patients specific and novel needs where they are absolutely necessary. We attempt to educate our patients about the purpose, expectations and the utility of such tests in their treatment choices, prognosis, career aspirations, as well as setting prupose-driven goals, in line with the data obtained by science.
  • While a psychologist attempts to identify ADHD by interview, testing and psychometric measures, they are unable to provide medical treatment for the ADHD, any co occurring medical conditions or illnesses, nutritional advice, or monitor controlled drug treatment outcomes such as psychostimulants.
  • An ADHD trained specialist monitors clinical risk by a highly trained skill set of observing mental state examination. These examinations and inferences offer psychiatrists the expertise to establish a multidimensional diagnosis as well as a differential diagnosis of conditions that will require an ongoing process so that they are ruled out.
  • The ADHD specialist provides specialised consultation to the patient as a process of empowering and creating partnership with the patient’s GP’s in the community. The specialist opinion and recommendations are to be disseminated in order to provide supports and a shared care treatment plan in collaboration and partnership with the GP.
  • The ADHD diagnosis will incorporate the various dynamic, behavioural, psychological, and social aspects of the patient and its stakeholders which may be contributing to sustaining, overshadowing, or worsening the ADHD and/or ASD diagnosis.
  • The GP is deemed as an ongoing primary doctor, or a first point of contact for the patient. The GP consults with the ADHD specialist, and mobilised allied health, social, educational or school as well as financial and other advocacy supports, alongside the ongoing treatment of the patient's general health and chronic medical issues.
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