New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

Parents of ADHD Children

Pediatrician vs Specialist for Meds??

Just curious if there is any strong opinions about whether to see the regular pediatrician or visit a specialist for getting ADHD meds.  We have been using the pediatrician, but haven’t been having much luck.  Wondering if it is better to try a more specialized Dr, of it it’s all just the same really.
We have tried Adderall and Concerta with not much luck and am doubting that there really is something that will work.


my son’s pediatrician referred me to a neurologist.

Posted by adhdboy on Dec 10, 2013 at 8:46am

My son sees a developmental pediatrician. They are specialists of a kind. They should have special training to treat conditions of a developmental nature such as ADHD. My second choice would be a neurologist. I would not take my son to a psychiatrist as very few have much if any training or experience treating children.

Hope this is helpful.
Susan in Yuma, soon to be Susan in Port Clinton

Posted by SueH on Dec 10, 2013 at 8:52am

We started with the pediatrician and didn’t have much luck because my son couldn’t tolerate stimulants.  After my son went through a full neuropsych eval, he was referred to see a pediatric psychiatrist who has really been able to help my son. Good luck!

Posted by Sporty on Dec 10, 2013 at 9:02am

Our pediatrician referred us to a Child Psychologist for testing, and then later to a Child Psychiatrist. I’m glad we went that route.  Our Psychiatrist is really knowledgeable about ADHD and the meds.

Posted by staypositive on Dec 10, 2013 at 9:39am

The important thing is to find a doctor very well versed in ADHD, including having a detailed understanding of all treatments. At that point, it doesn’t really matter their specialty, but their knowledge and experience is what counts.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 10, 2013 at 7:37pm

I think psychiatrists are best for treating psychiatric problems that can be treated with medication. I also think that it having a pediatrician well-versed in ADHD good BUT ADHD is often not the only diagnosis that a child has. If you want any other issues treated or ruled out, I would go see a specialist. In any case, you haven’t been happy with your pediatrician so it is time for a change. I hope you can find a good child psychiatrist! Good luck!

Posted by PMK on Dec 10, 2013 at 8:46pm

Hands down, absolutely, without question (can I get any stronger in my opinion!?) go with a specialist.  ADHD is a very complicated condition, there are many meds that work differently and dose in the case of these meds really, really matters.  Too little and it seems like they don’t work at all, too much and the side effects can be uncomfortable and seem not worth it.  Your regular pediatrician, with all due respect to the profession, is probably just telling you what he heard from a drug rep and not independent study.

Posted by YellaRyan on Dec 10, 2013 at 10:57pm

Without a doubt go with the specialist!!!  We had my son’s pediatrician handle the meds in the beginning and with every issue (headaches, anger, depression, stomach pain, etc.) that came up when on meds the Dr. just changed him to a new one!  I got so sick of constantly struggling with the medication and my son feeling ill that I had to change his pediatrician to get a reference to a child psychologist (the previous one refused to do so).  First thing the specialist asked when we went over the issues was if he had ever had a blood draw with any of the meds, NO, I didn’t know he needed them!  Long story short, he had underlying health issues that were discovered from the blood draws and had to be taken off medication immediately. We spent a year doing monthly blood draws and visiting a childrens hospital to make sure that it was the meds and that it wasn’t a more serious condition (it was a mild blood condition made worse by the meds).  He suffered for too long because the pediatrician didn’t know enough about ADHD or the medication she was trying him on!

Posted by awilliams121 on Dec 10, 2013 at 11:52pm

Thank you very much for the quick replies.  Would you all think a Neurologist is the way to go or definitely a child psychiatrist?  Again, thank you so much!

Posted by Ljoe on Dec 11, 2013 at 2:43am

After a full neuropsych eval,  we went the child psychiatrist route. It took 3 tries before we found the right one. There are very few and it is hard to find a good one. The first two barely spoke to my daughter. They wanted all the info from me.  Ask your pediatrician who they recommend and your psychologist. They know who the good ones are. We were persistent and kept calling to get in although we were told no more patients were being accepted. We tried many meds before finding the right one. It is a long process, but don’t give up. A specialist is the way to go.

Posted by chipper on Dec 11, 2013 at 5:53pm

We saw a pediatric neurologist and he was a great help.  Also do not be discouraged it took three different meds to find the right one.  We did the adderal, concerta and then straterra which is what works.  My son was also diagnosed with a muscle and tic disorder and again it took three tries to find the right meds that worked for him.

Posted by Mamanag on Dec 11, 2013 at 6:31pm

I started with a psych evaluation which came back as ADD, non hyper.  The school psychologist was also right there with me in working with my daughter along with all her teachers.  I then scheduled her with an ADD specialist who confirmed school and psych evaluation.  (And I still dug in my heels against Meds thinking I could fix it or she would outgrow it!)

After 3 years of wrestling with this as a single parent and educating myself about ADD (her father is off the charts himself and refuses to take his Meds) I watched as she failed miserably a test that we had studied for every day.  Broke my heart. Took her to the ADD specialist the next day who put her on Vyvannse.  It took a week of adjustment but it has changed her life.  Now in middle school she made the honor roll with just one B and was just recognized by her teachers and principal as one of the top 4 students for responsibility.  I still don’t like the Meds, it destroys her appetite so she is thin, but I have changed her diet around and she is on a pharmaceutical grade fish oil and vitamin daily and I have seen an improvement.

This is a long way to say, Meds are now administered very closely by her regular pediatrician and we got very, very lucky with the first brand we tried.  She is also a brilliant artist and singer.  ADD kids are amazing!
Good luck!

Posted by Londonlaine on Dec 11, 2013 at 6:42pm

Even an excellect pediatrician can’t know all of the subtle nuances about the medications used for treating ADD/ADHD, comorbid conditions and other related issues so I would definitely see a specialist. You need someone knowlegeable about ADD/ADHD who isn’t afraid to refer you to another specialist if need be. For example, our pediatrician said my son did not need an EKG because it was no longer recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics before starting ADD meds unless there is a family history. When I told her that the pediatric neurologist would not begin meds without an EKG bc our son is adopted, she just shrugged her shoulders and wrote the referral.  She’s an excellent pediatrician but her focus is primary care and more routine issues.  Specialized issues need to go to a specialist.  The pediatric neurologist has also referred our son/us to a therapist for counseling to help with anxiety - a comorbid condition.  The point is that sometimes you may need more than one specialist to make sure all of your child’s needs are being addressed.  Good luck

Posted by ASB on Dec 11, 2013 at 8:00pm

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions