Pre-Treatment Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Before your child begins treatment of any kind you should ask:

  • How much experience do you have treating children with similar symptoms?
  • What are the goals of this treatment?
  • What is the evidence that this treatment is effective?
  • How will we measure the effectiveness of this treatment?
  • How long should we expect our child to be treated?
  • What is our role in the treatment?
  • What are possible adverse events and when might they appear?

Questions for someone prescribing medication:

  • What is the generic name of this medication, and what do we know about how the active chemical ingredient works?
  • What are the alternative medications, and why did you choose this one?
  • If it’s effective, what will this medication do for my child?
  • How do you arrive at the best dosage for this medication?
  • How long does it take to work?
  • What are the potential side effects?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of the medication?
  • What kind of monitoring will you do while my child is on the medication?
  • What’s the research on this medication?
  • How many patients have you treated with this medication?
  • How long should my child continue to take this medication?
  • If we choose to stop using the medication, how slowly must it be discontinued, and how do you monitor that tapering-off process?

Questions for someone recommending behavioral therapy:

  • What is the therapy called?
  • What was it designed to treat, and what is it used for?
  • What’s the evidence for its effectiveness?
  • Is the therapy manualized, and how closely must we follow the manual?
  • What is the specific goal of this course of treatment?
  • How many patients have you treated with this specific therapy?
  • What special training have you had? What does it involve? How long does it typically take?
  • When can we expect to see changes in behavior?
  • What is the parents’ role?
  • Do you typically involve other family members?
  • How will we measure progress?