If you want treatment for you or your child’s attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD), you may first need to consult with your child’s pediatrician or your family doctor. The results of your or your child’s initial assessment will determine whether or not the doctor will refer you to a specialist who may be a pediatric neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist or a developmental-behavioral pediatrician.
In order to get all the important information about your or your child’s health and to correctly diagnose you or your child’s condition, you need to do pre appointment preparations. Listed below are some helpful tips to better prepare for your appointment and what you can expect from your doctor.
Create a list where all questions you want to ask your doctor is written
Write down in a list all the over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking as well as the steroids, supplements and herbs you or your child are presently taking
Jot down all the personal information your doctor may need to know. This can include recent changes in you or child’s your life as well as your or your child’s major stresses
Write down any problems you have at home or work or any problems or difficulties your child may have at home or school. This may include things that may not be related to you or you child’s ADHD.
Since your appointment may only last for less than 30 minutes, writing down all your questions beforehand will help optimize your appointment time. You can ask questions such as the ones listed below:
- Is it possible that I or my child suffers from a condition that is not ADHD?
- What type of tests do I/my child need to undergo?
- What best possible treatments can you suggest for me or my child?
- Are there any other approaches besides the primary one you are recommending?
- I/my child have other conditions, what is the best medical approach you can suggest that considers my/my child’s other health conditions along with my chief complaint?
- Do I or my child need to go to a specialist?
- Besides the brand medicines you are prescribing can you prescribe generic medicines also?
- What are the side effects of these drugs you are prescribing?
- Do you have any printed materials and brochures I can bring home to know more about my or my child’s condition? What websites can you recommend to learn more about my or my child’s condition?
If you have additional questions other than the aforementioned ones to ask your or your child’s doctor, you need to ask them all. You need to ask questions especially if you don’t understand something during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Before physically examining you or your child, your doctor often will ask you a number of questions. These questions are important in order for your doctor to understand your or your child’s condition much better. Some of the questions may be like these:
For your child:
- When did you first notice your child’s behavior issues?
- Are your child’s behavioral problems occurring in certain circumstances or do they happen everywhere?
- Does your child exhibit severe behavioral problem or severe signs of his condition?
- Is there anything that exacerbates his condition? Is there anything that improves his condition?
- In what place does your child experience behavioral difficulties (in the school, home or other places)?
- Does your child play video games or watch time for two hours or more each day?
- Does your child eat/drink caffeine? How much caffeine does he consume?
- Can you describe your child’s sleeping hours and patterns?
- Can you describe your child’s present and past school performance? You can bring the test results of your child, past and present.
- Does your child have reading difficulties? Does he read at home?
- What kinds of disciplinary measures do you enforce on your child? Are they effective?
- Can you describe a usual daily routine in your home?
- Do you still know when was the first time you first noticed yourself having problems sitting still, paying attention, or focusing?
- Is your impulsiveness, inattentiveness or hyperactivity happening all the time or occasionally?
- What are your most problematic symptoms and what issues do they cause?
- How extreme are your symptoms?
- In what place do your symptoms usually act up (in the school, home or other places)?
- Can you describe your childhood? Was it filled with troubles and problems in school?
- Is there any marked difference between your current and past school performance?
- Can you describe your sleep hours and patterns?
- Is there anything that betters your symptoms? Is there anything that aggravates it?
- What medicines do you use?
- Do you regularly take in a lot of caffeine?
- Do you drink alcohol or use street drugs?
Mark Schwartz is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Buckhead Acupuncture & Herbal Center in Atlanta, GA.