It can be tricky to find the right path to diagnosis. Many clinics and providers in Switzerland do not offer assessments in English. It can take some research and legwork so we hope to provide you some background to help you on your way.

The ideal and most recommended way to diagnose ADHD in a child or an adult is:

-Clinical interview of patient (and his/her parents if a child is the patient)

-Gathering of historical data (school reports, previous medical assessments)

-Neuropsychological testing

-Discussion of results and recommendations for treatment/follow-up

However, keep in mind that neuropsychological testing in English here in Switzerland is very rare and hard to find. A neuropsychological assessment should be done in the patient’s native language or a language in which they have native fluency. Based on the results of the testing, taken together with the clinical impressions of the psychologist or assessment team, a diagnosis can be given and recommendations can be made. It is then up to the patient (and their parents) to decide the best course of action for treatment. Treatment can involve psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, medication or any combination of these. Or, if the patient does not wish to pursue any further action, that is also their choice.

It is also possible to have a good idea about whether or not a patient has ADHD based on the clinical interview and the review of historical/supporting information. A trained psychologist can determine whether or not the person is reporting symptoms that meet criteria for ADHD, and then the patient can decide whether or not to go on the hunt for neuropsychological testing. If medication is desired as part of the recommended treatment plan, it is more likely that the medical doctor will require neuropsychological confirmation of the diagnosis. But not always.

If a patient is considering medication, it is recommended that they visit their general doctor to have a blood panel (particularly looking at thyroid function) and an EKG. The doctor will be able to see if there are any issues that may complicate medical treatment for ADHD. In any case, the doctor can then refer the patient to a psychiatrist to discuss medications available in Switzerland for the treatment of ADHD. The psychiatrist will answer questions about medication and explore with the patient whether or not medication is a good fit for their symptoms. Medications for ADHD are a controlled substance in Switzerland so they will be very careful to make sure that they are taken carefully and that regular access is possible. For example, the patient will have to be living in Switzerland full-time in order to keep refilling the prescription (this can affect college students living abroad in particular).

If you are an adult or young adult and suspect that you have ADHD and would like to be assessed by a licensed psychologist, you can contact Elizabeth to explore this further. If you have a child that you would like to have assessed for ADHD, please contact your child’s pediatrician to ask them about the best course of action. And Good Luck!

If you’d like to hear more about one person’s journey toward diagnosis and treatment in Switzerland, you can check out this episode of the c2 podcast on Spotify.