Pediatrician or psychiatrist? - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Pediatrician or psychiatrist?

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What do you feel is the best route to go to get your child on medication? Pediatrician? Psychiatrist? Does it matter? Our son (7) was assessed by a psychologist so we don’t have a psychiatrist that we see already and having moved in the last two years our pediatrician hasn’t had a chance to get to know him very well either. What’s the best way to go about it?

7 Replies

1000% - choose a Psychiatrist who specializes in child ADHD medication management. We meet every ~2-4 weeks with our Psychiatrist to review meds as we iterate to find the right combination for 30 minutes/session. A pediatrician won't have specialized knowledge on these meds, and won't have the same amount of time to spend with you.

We started with the pediatrician because she was able to quickly get him in the standard starter stuff (she had us choose Adderall or Ritalin and said it was about equal chance it would work or we could switch if not). He improved, but as he gets older he still has a lot of impulse control and social problems, as well as low motivation.

Now we are working with a psychiatrist. We are on a waiting list for some of the most highly respected practices around here. The first-available doctor is ok but doesn’t seem very good with children and their lives/behavior/needs, etc.(although he is board certified in child psychiatry). (Psychology today.com is a place to get verified doctors and read something about them first). Maybe get on a psychiatrist waiting list and work with a pediatrician if you feel it’s urgent?

I think you might get lucky with pediatrician, but like JJMom16 I believe if you can find a pediatric psychiatrist who is good with meds it's really a shortcut and so much easier to manage.

We use a psychiatrist, though admittedly we benefit from our pediatrician's practice having one on staff.

We did have one outside consultation with a psychiatrist specializing in ADHD but decided to stay with the practice we were already using.

Pediatric psychiatrist, hands down. But some pediatricians' offices have an ADHD specialist on hand, someone who can oversee the diagnostic process and prescribe meds.

There is a clear difference: Pediatrician can give a single type of medication for the average weight of a child. A Psychiatrist can help manage medication. To dial medication in correctly they must consider types of medication, dose of medication and how to time it the right dose for the child.In addition, if a child needs a combination of medications they must consider all the factors.

We did not have untimate sucess until a child psychiatrist was on our team.

Building a team really helps a lot. It can't be done alone.

Best of luck.

Pediatric psychiatrist! We first used our pediatrician because everyrhing was new and we weren't sure what else to do. He did prescribe medication bit it wasn't right, it was too strong and he would only help so far until he referred us to a psychiatrist. She had a way different approach and has been able to manage things much better. She's not exactly warm amd fuzzy like the pediatrition but her job is to prescribe medication. Even if they aren't listed as a pediatric psychiatrist find out what the youngest age of patients they see and find someone who deals with ADHD. It really does make all the difference!

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