Has an ADHD diagnosis ever prevented you from obtaining a goal?

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    • #74851

      I was diagnosed (dx) from a neuropsychologist after complaining to my primary that I was concerned about having memory issues. I am an industrial appraiser. An example of a memory issue is that I was out on assignment visiting a client for work. I typically have a conference with my site contact, inspect the property, and take notes and pictures. After we do our field work, we do our office work months later. The problem was I had no recollection of ever visiting one property even though I clearly could see my notes and pictures. Obviously I was there at some point. I did not believe that ADHD was related to my issue and my primary referred me for a second opinion which confirmed the dx.

      Recently I was looking into continuing my interest in getting my private pilot’s license as I transition to an empty nester. Virtually all the males in my family have possessed this license. I have always been interested in flying and I am an Air Force vet (not as a pilot). I have volunteered in my community for +10 years participating in one group or another with my children. The Civil Air Patrol seemed like a logical step to do something on my own.

      A shocking discovery for me was to find out that having the dx of ADHD disqualifies me from getting my private pilot’s license in my case. Apparently ADHD is considered a mental illness and therefore required to be disclosed. To be qualified, the FAA requires a neuropsychological test, at your expense, to be performed stating that ADHD no longer exists. Since I have not only been tested, I had it confirmed by a second opinion.

      Ironically, I don’t have a method to quantify an improvement in symptoms. I have no idea because I don’t know something I would not have not remembered.

    • #74930

      No. The lack of a diagnosis for the previous 44 years is what held me back from my goals. Not knowing why I was constantly failing at friendships, work relationships and every one of my paid and unpaid jobs….a diagnosis has been a tool for working with more information about myself and getting where I want to go. I can finally sleep well, organize myself and earn an income where I am not bored to tears each day.
      Thanks for asking.

    • #74943


      Like you I wanted to get into flying (again). There are some options depending on your full story.

      I am not a medical professional and I am not giving advise (hence the odd use of ‘one’ vs ‘you’ below). That said here’s my experience.

      As I have learned, unless one takes and fails an aviation medical exam, which is required for a Private Pilot license, the FAA doesn’t know about ones ADHD. However, one doesn’t need a medical if one flys under a Sport Pilot license. The interested party just needs to pass the appropriate flight and ground exams and “Not know or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make that person unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a safe manner.” Well I have had ADHD forever and it’s not going away in my lifetime. I was diagnosed in 2004. Funny thing though is I got my pilots license in 1976! And there are plenty of ADHDers who are pilots; commercial or military. So as I read it, ADHD is not in itself exclusionary … I have no knowledge or reason to know… but read on.

      FYI: There are many aircraft one can still fly under a Sport license including many single engines and gyro copters (and one needs a drivers license). BTW, one doesn’t need a Sport license or a drivers license to pilot a glider or balloon. With the Sport license one is limited to flying during the day, having no more than one passenger, weight of aircraft < ____ , type of airspace …

      If one is like me, a highly functional ADHDer, and wants to risk never flying, then one can take the medical. One would disclose the ADHD diagnosis as I did. The diagnosing doctor would have to release records to the AME. One will get a letter from the FAA saying they are barred from flying anything forever (because the FAA is saying the want-to-be pilot has been informed that the ADHD diagnosis is exclusionary), unless one passes a aeronautical neuropsychologists two – three day $3000+ evaluation. The neuropsychologist told me “you do not have ADHD”. {An aside; the FAA is in the public safety business. Despite my evaluation results I have ADHD; there is no doubt about it.} Now that I have ‘passed’ I can not be on any medication- ever. That is the choice I have made until my flying days are over. Since I got my Private Pilot license 30 years ago I can still fly using that license but if I didn’t have a prior license, I would just fly under the Sport Pilot license, no medical required.

      That being said there are some ADHD friends that shouldn’t even have a drivers license. I think a serious self-check needs to be done if you want to fly. Having ADHD is challenging in 2 dimensions. Adding a third might be disastrous for others, let alone you.

      As for your memory loss… if you can pass the written and flight exams then you will have proved to your yourself and flight instructors that you can memorize a lot of fun material!

    • #76102

      Yes, it has made me second guess myself, worry that what I’m doing isn’t as good as what others are. I’ve noticed that once I was diagnosed I felt like I had a disability! I never felt that way before, even though I’ve been the same way my whole life. I was treated with antidepressants, so being depressed was a better option? A doctor offered to do an extra test he knew would come back negative to prove I was not ADHD, It came back positive! He said, the first one for him. I was so upset, so was my husband. I think that’s why I quit trying. The same doctor began to support me more than ever, I found this forum, I put my meds in order. Information is power for fuel, I am now in a good place. I cannot fix the past, but I will not waste my future looking back. Today I WANT good things for myself, my ADHD is not a disability it’s my super power, my brain is different, creative, musical, I never fight the paths my brain choose to take me down. I love the ADHD Natalie. ❤️

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