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I don't actually have an actual diagnosis of ADHD, growing up I never really addressed it, as treating such isn't really common where I grew up. However recently I took an interest in it, and alas I check all the symptoms. I can actually live just fine without taking care of it, I've figured out how to work around it. However the potential benefits of professional treatment intrigued me. It does help if I can work a 9-5 like a normal person.

I currently study in the benelux and my university have a support programme (not sure actually if it's national/university), if you're actually diagnosed with ADHD. In particular, therapy + medicine, though I'm only interested in the therapy. However, as I'm applying for a PhD grant with my supervisor (in the same university), I'm worried that this might raise concerns, both his and the foundation giving out the grants. Am I right to be worried about this? If I do take the therapy sessions, should I inform my supervisor?

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  • Are you asking if you should mention "this university has a support program for people like me" in a "why you should give this grant to me at this university" section? Commented Feb 11 at 20:41
  • @AzorAhai-him- no. Just considering if I should postpone the whole thing after I start the PhD (hopefully). If I can get help now it definitely helps with the preparation, but I can still slog through without. Commented Feb 11 at 20:47
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    So what's the connection between seeking therapy and applying for the grant? Commented Feb 11 at 20:55
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    How would the grant foundation possibly know? Unless you explicitly state this in your grant application, I am struggling to come up with a single conceivable way in which this information is transmitted from the ADHD support programme of your university to whoever ends up evaluating your grant. Commented Feb 11 at 21:22
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    Your question could actually be cut down a great deal. Remove every unhelpful instance of "actual" and "actually". Then: "I believe that I have ADHD but no professional has ever confirmed my belief. I'm thinking of seeking professional advice. Is that wise? Should I mention my belief to my PhD supervisor?" Commented Feb 12 at 4:13

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I would keep it private as much as possible for as long as possible. People have misconceptions and some of those misconceptions can hurt you.

If you can control it without therapy, all the better, but seek that therapy. Don't make ADHD or therapy an issue in an application.

Also, don't self-diagnose. You aren't trained for that.

If your supervisor already knows all of this and still supports you, then I doubt that others would be concerned.

If it should come up, say in an interview, where someone notices something, then address it there, emphasizing both that you can control it and that you are under beneficial therapy.

Everyone is different. If you can function then focus on your strengths in any application materials. And if your supervisor knows and is fine with it, suggest they don't bring it up either.

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If you are going to be speaking to a licensed medical professional for your ADHD assessment, it is safe to assume they are bound by doctor-patient confidentiality laws. This means that you can go in for a diagnosis and start receiving support without your supervisor being informed. You can also explicitly ask the support service about this, if you are concerned.

In the long run, you can decide whether or not you want to share this information with your supervisor. There are some accommodations that you might not be able to access without informing them, but this will very much depend on how much accommodation you want/need in the future. For instance, I know both one PhD student with ADHD who disclosed to their supervisor (since they qualified for time extensions, which they ended up needing, and this helped them/their supervisor plan out the project more realistically) and one who didn't (since the available accommodations weren't of interest to them, and they didn't want to face potential stigma). The correct choice seems to depend a lot on personal circumstances.

I wouldn't be worried about your funding body- I expect them to be subject to some form of non-discrimination charter, which would not allow them to negatively factor in a potential medical disability to your application. Then again, it's also none of their business, and they should have no way of finding out unless you choose to tell them.

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Any medical treatment you seek at your university should be subject to standard confidentiality/privacy protections (but you should check this to make sure). You are not required to disclose this information in your application and you can reasonably expect that if you have not disclosed it then it should not be known to the relevant reviewers when they make their decision. Unless there is some compelling reason to disclose, keeping the information private is probably your best protection here.

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