Frequently Asked Questions about ADHD
We realize that many new patients may have questions about ADHD so we have put together a special question and answer section to help you understand more about this disorder
Q: Is ADHD a real disorder?
A: Many people honestly feel that ADHD was a concept drummed up by psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies to increase business. However, the condition is real and is recognized by major health institutions, including the Surgeon General of the United States and the National Institutes of Health.
Q: ADHD is only a children’s disorder right?
A: Statistics indicate that while the majority of the people diagnosed with ADHD are children, at least 4 percent of adults experience it at as well. The reason the statistics may be lower for adults is that ADHD is often misdiagnosed or goes undiagnosed in adults.
Q: Is ADHD caused by bad parenting?
A: There are a number of people quick to point fingers at parents, laying the blame for ADHD at the feet of mom and dad. But some people with ADHD have difficulty controlling impulsivity and behavior, and that difficulty may have nothing to do with how those people were raised. In fact, it is the most inherited neurologic disorder in the US. Brain chemistry imbalances are to blame, not parents!
Q: Do more boys have ADHD than girls?
A: According to a 2001 report from the U.S. Surgeon General, girls are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD despite need. Girls tend to have lower rates of hyperactivity and external symptoms than boys, but they may have greater intellectual impairment due to ADHD. As a result, girls may be underdiagnosed with the condition.
Q: Are those with ADHD lazy?
A: People with ADHD are no more lazy or less determined than those who have not been diagnosed with the disorder. ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that changes the way the brain responds and presents unique challenges. A person with ADHD is no more at fault for the behaviors associated with ADHD than a person with depression or mania is for the symptoms associated with those conditions.
Q: Are all people with ADHD hyper and lack focus?
A: A person with ADHD may present mixed symptoms of the condition or be predominantly characterized by one. That means hyperactivity may not be part of the equation, especially for those who are largely inattentive. On the flip side, while some people with ADHD have trouble focusing on certain tasks, some actually get overly focused on things they enjoy. This is known as “hyperfocus,” and it may come at a detriment to the things they do not like.
Q: Isn’t ADHD overdiagnosed?
A: Experts say that ADHD is still largely underdiagnosed and undertreated, and many are not getting the therapy and/or medication they need. Contrary to popular belief, taking medication for ADHD is not a precursor to drug addiction or substance abuse. Many ADHD sufferers who do not get the care they need self-medicate and are at a greater risk for substance abuse.
Q: Is a referral required to be seen at Greenville ADHD Specialists?
A: A referral is not required by us. However, a referral is required for Medicaid patients. Some other insurance plans may require a referral as well. We welcome all referrals and will communicate our assessment and plans to the referring provider for the best possible care of our mutual patient.
Q: Is insurance accepted?
A: Yes! Most commercial insurance plans are accepted. Dr. Woods also accepts South Carolina Medicaid. Dr. Brannon also accepts Medicare, but not Medicaid
Q: What will insurance cover?
A: We file the office visit to your insurance company, and coverage depends on your specific benefits. Our office is typically able to check your benefits and give you an estimate. Testing is an out-of-pocket expense. We do not file it to insurance.
Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: For new patient appointments, we ask that you complete and return the new patient paperwork. Once your paperwork is received, reviewed, and accepted we will contact you to schedule an appointment. New patient paperwork is available here and by email. If you have questions, simply give our office a call at 864-305-1662, select option 3 to listen to the new patient information which answers most questions, and then you will have the option to speak to a staff member.
Q: How long is the wait for a new patient appointment?
A: Due to high demand, we are scheduling several months out. We do keep a wait-list and, depending on circumstances, can oftentimes get patients in sooner than their original appointment date.
Q: How long does a new patient appointment take?
A: New patient appointments generally last about 2 hours and consist of the QbTest, rating scale assessments, a clinical interview with the doctor including diagnosis, treatment plan options and prescriptions when needed.
Q: Do you offer any treatments other than medication?
A: Yes. However, prescription medication has been proven to be the most effective, evidence-based, treatment for ADHD. Other treatment options include behavior modification techniques in the home, accommodations in the classroom including a Plan 504 and possibly an IEP, and referral to counseling as needed. Each treatment plan is individualized to your specific needs.
Q: Do you only treat ADHD, or do you treat other problems too?
A: We treat ADHD and comorbidities typically associated with ADHD, including anxiety, depression, ODD, etc. Frequently, adequate treatment of ADHD leads to significant improvements in other problems. Once the patient has been evaluated, the doctor may recommend further testing in our office, further evaluation by other professionals, and/or counseling.
Q: Will the testing show if it’s anxiety and not ADHD? Will it show learning disabilities?
A: QbTest is sensitive and specific for ADHD and helps our doctors differentiate different causes of symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In addition, our CNS Vital Signs testing can also be helpful as a screen for learning disabilities.
Q: If I have already been diagnosed, do I still have to do testing?
A: Yes. Why? Often the diagnosis of ADHD has been previously determined by subjective methods and the necessity of objective data through the QbTest is important. We will be happy to review any previous testing you provide to us. Since we are the only office in upstate South Carolina who administers the QbTest, we prefer that you take the test since it provides unique data different from other “ADHD” tests.
Q: If I’m already taking medication for ADHD, should I take it for the testing?
A: It depends. If you feel the medication is working well, then yes. The test will show if your medication is optimized. If you are unsure or have doubts about your medication, then no. It is best to take the first test without medication to obtain a baseline assessment.
Q: How often do I have to do the testing?
A: This varies for each patient. The retesting is important because it shows exactly how well the medication is working and if there is room for optimization. We ask some patients to take the test again at their very next appointment.
Q: How frequently are follow up visits scheduled?
A: Initially while the patient’s treatment plan is being developed and optimized, usually every 2 to 4 weeks. Once a patient is optimized, we usually schedule 3 month follow-ups.
Q: Do I have to come to your office every time I need a refill?
A: Once a patient is optimized, the doctors will give 3 months of prescriptions to last until the next appointment. But if a prescription is needed between appointments, sometimes the prescription must be picked up in the office.
Learn More About Our Testing And Diagnostic Procedures
QbTest is a FDA cleared computer based test for ages 6 to 60. QbTest measures the core symptoms associated with ADHD including hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention/distractibility. Activity is measured by recording every millimeter the head moves during the testing. Impulsivity and Inattention are measured by having the patient complete a continuous performance test requiring the patient to press a button for certain symbols and not push the button for other symbols. The testing is not dependent on language, reading, or mathematic skills.
The results are presented in a report that compares the patient’s performance against the same age and same gender participants who do not have ADHD. This comparison group is called the control group. The report requires interpretation by a trained physician and in conjunction with a clinical interview and other rating scales is one objective tool utilized by the doctors at Greenville ADHD Specialists to accurately diagnose ADHD.
In addition, the QbTest is administered to optimize medication treatment if medication is needed. Comparison reports of performance on medication and off medication are objective and in addition to the patient’s report of symptoms can help us determine if the dosage is accurate for the patient.
Your performance on QbTest is not affected by color blindness or previous video gaming experience. The test itself requires no computer knowledge or skill. For more information, please call our office at 864-305-1662. You can find more information about the QbTest by visiting their website at www.qbtech.com
Diagnostic Testing-CNS Vital Signs
CNS Vital Signs is a computer based testing procedure to evaluate neurocognitive function in a patient. The test consists of 7 subtests that include verbal memory test, visual memory test, finger tapping test, symbol digit coding test, stroop test, shifting attention test, and continuous performance test. The testing usually takes about 30 minutes to complete. This testing does require a 4th grade reading level to complete. A clinical report is generated that determines whether the tests were valid and how the patient performed compared to an age-matched normative comparison database.
CNS Vital Signs is one piece of objective evidence sometimes used by Greenville ADHD Specialists in conjunction with clinical interview, rating scales, and QbTest. Our doctors recommend CNS Vital Signs to certain patients to determine additional causes of neurocognitive impairments such as learning disabilities, mild cognitive impairment, early dementia, sleep disorders, depression, and traumatic brain injuries. ADHD patients also usually have a specific pattern on the clinical report.
DNA and Neurotransmitter Tests
- Checks the genes that metabolize medications
- Involves a cheek swab collected in our office
- Results are returned to our office within 1 week and usually within just 3-4 days
- Helps determine if patients need medication changes, or either increases or decreases in current medication
- Many insurance plans, Medicaid, and Medicare cover the cost of this testing
- Urine collection kits are available for testing of neurotransmitters on all ages
- People over age 12 should also submit saliva for testing of adrenal function but your provider will decide what tests to order
- Forms to be submitted with test kit will be explained at the time of the office visit
- Collection instructions for urine and/or saliva will also be provided
- Some insurances may cover the cost of testing
- Results are returned within 2 weeks
These reports are interpreted by your doctor and discussed with you in detail. If you have any further questions, please contact our office at 864-305-1662. You can find more information about CNS Vital Signs by visiting their website at www.cnsvs.com