When to seek an ADHD specialist?

Most psychiatrists and paediatricians in Australia, with fellowship training, are able to diagnose and treat ADHD.

However, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Paediatricians, and General Practitioners, while conferring fellowship qualifications in Australia, do not have specific medical tertiary exams or qualification pathways for being deemed as an ADHD ‘qualified medical specialist’.

The training, exposure, supervision and experience in ADHD diagnosis and treatment is lacking in Australian institutions when being trained as a junior doctor. You may consider requesting your current physician or GP for a referral to an ADHD specialist. For seeking a ADHD specialist opinion to clarify and confirm and and all aspects of diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and related disorders. You may seek a second opinion from an ADHD specialist in addition to your ongoing oversight by your ongoing specialist ;

  • If there is uncertainty for any aspects of the ADHD diagnosis and clarification of suspected or coexisting mental health and medical disorders
  • If there is uncertainty for any aspects about any aspects of the Treatment for ADHD and its related disorders
  • If there is doubt or evidence for coexistent other learning/neurodevelopmental disorders or symptoms such as dyslexia, autism , learning difficulties etc
  • If response to medications and existing psychological or behavioural interventions is not proving to be effective
  • If you and your GP or Paediatrician have identified areas of mental health where there is a need for a psychiatrist with ADHD expertise. eg, complex anxiety disorders, OCD, addiction issues, suicidal behaviours, bullying, PTSD etc is doubt or evidence for coexistent other learning/neurodevelopmental disorders or symptoms such as dyslexia, autism, learning difficulties etc
  • If the specific psychological needs and dynamics of the family/carers/partners require any specific expert ADHD specialist assessment and intervention
  • When response to conventional ADHD treatment has become refractory, the treatment appears to be ‘generic’ (for example, 6 monthly medication scripts but no change , lack of clarity for goals and outcomes of treatment, the patient and family/carer/partner conflict etc.
  • Where treatment appears to be driven by treatment of the ADHD diagnostic ‘box’, rather than the dynamic needs of the ADHD patient and the partners/carers/families.
  • Where there is doubt that newly evolved psychological and individual issues and concerns have not been comprehensively addressed
  • Where there is uncertainty about management of newly emerged confusion or conflict with therapy, counseling or coaching
  • Where there is uncertainty about how to improvise, address, and reflect on the newly acquired strengths, vulnerabilities and psychological risks from treatment
  • Where there is consensus for a ‘fresh perspective’
  • Where there is a need to be satisfied that ongoing treatment is in line with evidence - base, science, and optimal to the emerging needs of patient
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