Who is the best person for diagnosing and treating ADHD in a 12-year-old child?

Q. Whom should I opt for diagnosing ADHD in a 12-year-old child?

Answered by
Dr. Suresh Kumar G D
and medically reviewed by Dr.Nithila A
This is a premium question & answer published on May 25, 2019 and last reviewed on: Sep 22, 2023

Hello doctor,

I want your opinion on who is the best person (or where to start) for diagnosing and treating ADD in a 12-year-old child. The information and opinions are mind-numbing and confusing. I have the choice of taking my daughter to a pediatrician or a psychiatrist, after having her tested by a psychologist for school performance related issues. The resulted report indicates that she has serious trouble in concentrating (we knew that) and that she is exhibiting anxiousness (we knew that too). She is currently taking 20 mg Ritalin LA, and we need to re-evaluate the medication. In your professional opinion, where should one start? Will it be sufficient taking her to a pediatrician to re-evaluate the medication, or should I take her to a child psychiatrist for a full evaluation?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

You have asked a very pertinent question. I am not sure about the medical system in your area. Usually, young children in primary school are seen by pediatricians. Once they move to secondary school and if they have any co-morbid conditions like depression or anxiety, they are usually seen by child psychiatrists. But this arrangement is not universal, and there are huge variations. Both developmental pediatricians and child psychiatrists have the training and expertise to assess and manage ADD or ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). So if you are comfortable with your current pediatrician, discuss your concerns with him or her about your daughter's anxiety. If appropriate, they can refer your daughter to a child psychiatrist. Perhaps your daughter's response to Ritalin LA (Methylphenidate) and tolerability needs to be reviewed, and dose has to be titrated accordingly. If there are any emotional difficulties, she will benefit from pastoral support at school or some counseling. If emotional problems are severe, getting a child psychiatrist opinion may be sensible. Also, we have to remind ourselves that the management of ADD or ADHD is not medication alone. Your daughter will benefit from individualized support to help with her school performance. Her self-esteem should not be affected by ADD. Let her enjoy doing activities which can provide positive experiences. If she likes sports or drama or any other similar field, let her have regular time for pursuing her interests.

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