Who is qualified to diagnose a person, do you first start with the family doctor?
Typically it is a family doctor who gets the initial visit to figure out if something more needs to be tested, looked at or determined.
Most patients go to the family doctor seeking answers. Then, upon reviewing the symptoms, the family doctor will refer the patient to either a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, or possibly order a variety of tests including blood work, scans and possibly sleep studies. The insurance coverage sometimes determines the steps taken.
The symptoms and the doctors’ past experiences and knowledge and understanding of the patient and the symptoms being presented will also determine their diagnosis. There have been instances of mis-diagnosis, non-diagnosis and of a simple Mild Cognitive Impairment diagnosis which leaves the patient open for more testing and more questions than answers. Make sure when you visit your doctor, you take a list with you of symptoms and your concerns, and if need be, ask to speak to them privately to discuss your concerns and if you can, take a close friend or family member with you to help ask questions and remember the answers.
A lot also depends on where you live. If you are close to a clinical trial or a diagnostic study, those may be your best bet for getting answers and a complete diagnosis. Good luck and let us know if you have more questions.