A fellow PhD student told me that they have been diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive type). This seems to have been an assessment done for work-related purposes as they are a part-time student. I am not familiar with inattentive type ADHD as I am more familiar with hyperactive ADHD as I knew of fellow high school students with hyperactivity.

Unfortunately, my colleague is struggling to find a psychiatrist comfortable with ADHD prescription and there does not seem to be clinical services focused on adult ADHD in the local area. I am also not sure how useful medications are especially for adult inattentive symptoms.

The question : I am wondering how useful any interventions are - accommodations, student support, therapy are? I will not be advising or directing my colleague but they have asked for support. They are not ready to tell their supervisor as yet.

~ The most similar question I could find on SE was - What specific techniques can help someone facing mental health problems (depression, anxiety, ADHD) have a productive academic career? However I think ADHD deserves a full discussion especially this focus on the inattentive type.

~ Elizabeth has made some useful answers related to ADHD as well - Academics with ADHD or autism: What workplace accommodations have helped you?

Supervising a research student with attention problems - what can I do to help the student be more independent?

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    This is confusing. The question implies you and the person with ADHD are both faculty, but the explanation says you are both PhD students. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 3:21
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    Therapy and medication are best left to the professionals and are off-topic on this site. Accommodations and student support are not your business if you are a student. That's the business of the PhD supervisor and disability office. Do respect other students' privacy. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 3:22
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    I have inattentive ADHD and medication fixed my life. Therapy is useless. Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 5:27
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    What is the question? Independent about what? The question is off-topic (refer: academia.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic). And even if we'd like to help there is not a defined enough question about the current process or even if the answer is how to help you encourage them or what the supervisor can do, or what.
    – deags
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 1:38
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    @MattSamuel Talk therapy can be very useful for addressing long-term psychological issues arising from the blame, guilt feelings, or self-defeating behavior that ADHD adults have often internalized before they get a correct diagnosis. It's true that it's much less helpful for day-to-day strategies in managing ADHD. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


I was diagnosed with severe inattentive ADHD when I was 12ish. I'm now 32 and am an instructor at a university. I've dealt with it in all ways and am not shy about it.

Medication worked for me. It might not for everyone. ADHD is also over-diagnosed, or was a decade or two ago. It's also a real pain in the *** to get medication in the USA because it's a controlled substance. It's a pain to travel with because my medication is illegal in some countries. But it works for me.

Your friend should find a psychologist who can diagnose ADHD. After that, getting medication is normal. You should encourage your friend to explore the support services offered by your institution. They'll be experienced in how to support your friend and will be able to direct them to other resources and psychologists.

Good luck!

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