Should I consult both a psychiatrist and a pediatrician regarding ADHD?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine
The advantage of seeing a psychiatrist is that psychiatrists are skillful in recognizing and managing symptoms and complications of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (such as negative responses to medications) and concomitant disorders such as depression and/or anxiety disorder.

Pediatricians in general and developmental pediatricians in particular are skilled in managing symptoms of ADHD in children.

Most pediatricians are trained in diagnosing and treating ADHD. It is often easier to see a pediatrician than a psychiatrist. Many parents will have their children see the pediatrician, especially if there is a good rapport with the family. It is very good to consult a psychiatrist if there are complicating issues such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, or symptoms that are difficult to treat.

It's best to start with your pediatrician. Pediatric physicians treat many kids with ADHD and are trained to evaluate children with attention and hyperactivity issues and formulate treatment plans for their problems. If standard approaches aren't working or your child has a complex mix of other conditions (depression, autism, obsessive compulsive tendencies), then your pediatrician can refer you to a pediatric behavior and development specialist or a child psychiatrist for further evaluation and treatment.
Iris Rodriguez-Johnson, MD
The psychiatrist will do the initial testing for ADHD and will do the initial prescriptions. The pediatrician will often do the child's refills and make sure that the medication is working and that there are not side effects from the medications. If there is a problem the pediatrician will refer the child back to the psychiatrist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.