37 Questions You May Want to Ask Your Doctor If You've Been Diagnosed With ADHD
When I was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), I felt like a lot of things just started to make sense. An ADHD diagnosis was the answer to so many of the questions I always had bouncing around my head, like, “why can’t I just clean my room?” or, “why don’t I know where my keys are?” or, “why can’t I remember turning the iron off?”
• What is ADHD?
But while I felt like so many questions had been answered, I was also left with a bunch of new questions. Then there were the questions I didn’t know I should ask, but wish I had.
So here’s a non-exhaustive list of questions that might be helpful to ask your doctor. You may have more questions, or you may have less. You also don’t have to ask them all at once as it might be a lot for one appointment, but they may be things to think about. For some of the questions, you may want to direct them to other health supports in your life such as a therapist or naturopath, and for others you may be inclined to Google them and find your own answers.
1. What led you to diagnose me with ADHD?
3. What type of ADHD do I have?
4. How does ADHD impact my life? Are there signs of ADHD that I may never have noticed?
5. What are the different types of medication for ADHD?
6. How will this medication affect my body in the short or long-term?
7. What made you choose this particular medication for me versus a different one?
8. What are the different forms or dosages available for this medication (ie. liquid or capsule, immediate-release or extended-release)?
9. Are there any foods I should not eat while taking this?
10. Are there any other medications or vitamins/supplements that may interact with this?
11. What side effects can I expect, and how long will they last?
12. Can I stop taking this medication, or will I have to wean off?
13. If I forget my medication, should I take it when I remember or just skip it?
14. What are the risks of taking this medication?
15. Can this medication cause dependency or addiction?
16. How and when should I take my medication? (I.e. on its own, with food, in the morning, with other medications?)
17. How does medication for ADHD work? How does the medication you’ve recommended work?
18. How long will it take for me to feel the effects of the medication, and how long will it take to wear off?
19. How will I know if I’m on the right dose, or if I need to adjust it?
20. What are some common accommodations that people with ADHD might need at school or work?
21. Are there certain activities that will require some adjustments to be more ADHD-friendly?
22. ADHD can make it hard to complete basic “adult” tasks like cooking, cleaning, paying bills on time, remembering appointments, or other chores. Are there any tips for ADHD specifically that you can share?
23. Beyond medication, what are some lifestyle changes that can help with managing ADHD?
24. Are there certain foods that are known to help with ADHD, or ones that make ADHD worse?
25. Are there ADHD-specific diets to look into?
26. Are there certain vitamins or supplements I will benefit more from as someone with ADHD? Are there ones to avoid?
27. What types of exercise are recommended for people with ADHD?
28. Are there behavioral modifications that will make ADHD easier to manage?
On Health in General
29. Are there other medical conditions that occur more frequently in people with ADHD that I should be aware of?
30. Am I at a higher risk of other health issues as a result of having ADHD?
On Holistic Support
31. Are there treatments other than prescription medication that can work for ADHD?
32. What types of therapy or what type of therapist will be most beneficial for me?
33. Do I need to see any other types of doctors or specialists, like a psychiatrist or neurologist?
34. Would a dietician, nutritionist, or naturopath be helpful as another health support?
35. Are there ADHD-specific resources that I should explore? (I.e. websites, support groups, ADHD centers?)
36. How should I talk to my friends and family about my diagnosis?
37. Are there any other supports that I should consider, or anything else you can refer me to?
This list is pretty big, and if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed seeing them all here, that’s OK! ADHD can feel very overwhelming, but I found that it was helpful to have all the questions I could think of listed out so that I didn’t have to try and remember them all. Your doctor may not have all the answers to these questions, but they will hopefully be able to point you in the right direction.
Remember that your health is exactly that: yours. So, at the end of the day, you get to decide what choices you want to make for your health, and you have a voice. The best way to make the best choices about your health is to be informed and aware, and asking questions is a great place to start to reach a more informed place. With all the questions and unknowns that come with ADHD, it can feel a bit isolating and scary, so you may want to have a friend or family member come with you to your appointments to help keep track of all the answers, or ask questions you may have forgotten about.
Ultimately, your doctor’s job is to take care of your health with you and that includes providing resources, support, and information about your health. Don’t be afraid to ask because you deserve to have all your questions answered. You deserve to have as much information about your health as you need in order to make informed health choices. And finally, you deserve all the care in the world to navigate your ADHD.
Getty Images photo via Donald Iain Smith