Debunking the Myth: Who can diagnose ADHD?

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We recently came across a common myth about who can diagnose ADHD in Australia. So this article aims to set the record straight on who can diagnose ADHD in Australia.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects people of all ages and can affect your ability to regulate attention, memory, emotions, and energy. 

ADHD also brings with it certain strengths, such as creativity, and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, not everyone with ADHD is the same. So, understanding whether you have ADHD or not, and your unique challenges and strengths can be truly helpful. It can help you to address the challenges of ADHD whilst harnessing the strengths to be effective in your daily life.

Who can diagnose ADHD?

In Australia, there is a common myth that only psychiatrists can diagnose ADHD. However, this is not correct.

The Australian ADHD guidelines[1], which are evidence-based guidelines recently adopted in Australia, outline the process of diagnosing ADHD. These guidelines also provide clear recommendations on who can diagnose ADHD. As per the guidelines ADHD can be diagnosed by health professionals who are registered with the Australian Health Professionals Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) and who are trained and experienced in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of ADHD. So, ADHD can actually be diagnosed by a range of health professionals, including Psychiatrists, Paediatricians, and Psychologists[2]

How is ADHD diagnosed?

ADHD is diagnosed by trained health professionals using a range of tools to gather information from you and important people in your life. These tools can include psychometric assessments, clinical interviews and more.

Which Health Professional is best to diagnose ADHD?

Each health professional has their own unique perspective and approach to diagnosing and treating ADHD. So, here are our observations of some of the benefits and disadvantages of getting an ADHD diagnosis from a psychiatrist, psychologist, and paediatrician.



  • Psychiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat a range of mental health conditions.
  • Psychiatrists can prescribe medication


  • Psychiatrists typically have long wait lists
  • Some people may feel stigmatized or uncomfortable about seeking help from a psychiatrist.
  • Psychiatrists generally do not provide psychotherapy or skills training. 



  • Paediatricians are trained to diagnose and treat a range of childhood conditions, including ADHD.
  • They can prescribe medication for children
  • They may have an established relationship with your child and your family, which can make the diagnostic process more comfortable for your child.


  • Paediatricians cannot diagnose ADHD in adults. 
  • They may not have the time or resources to provide ongoing counselling and psychotherapy to the child and family.
  • They may have long wait lists. 



  • Psychologists are trained to assess and diagnose a range of mental health conditions, including ADHD.
  • Psychologists can identify other conditions that often co-occur with ADHD, such as Anxiety.
  • They usually provide psychotherapy, and skills training to assist with the ongoing management of ADHD 
  • They can provide ongoing support and counselling to individuals with ADHD and their families.


  • Psychologists cannot prescribe medication.

Each health professional brings their own unique perspective and approach to diagnosing ADHD. It is important to choose a health professional who is trained in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of ADHD. It is also important to consider personal preferences and access to services when choosing a health professional.



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