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"I’m a U.S. Army Aviator — and I Have ADHD and Anxiety."

I am fourth generation Army. Flying is my passion, and I take great pride in my service abroad and at home. But when undeniable symptoms of ADHD first began to crop up, I feared that my dream profession as an Aviator may be at risk. Here is what my ADHD diagnosis has meant for my military career.

4 Comments: "I’m a U.S. Army Aviator — and I Have ADHD and Anxiety."

  1. Inspiring story.

    I’ve read that a current diagnosis of ADHD is itself disqualifying as is taking any ADHD medication to treat it, including Strattera. Sources:

    So how was the medical certificate in this story approved? Is this military only? Are these sources wrong or outdated?

    Whatever the case, I hope the FAA relaxes their restrictions. Coffee is a stimulant, right?

    “I was grounded for several weeks as I stabilized on the ADHD medication and while we followed all guidance in the Aeromedical Policy Letters (APLs). If all went well and I showed signs of improvement, I could potentially obtain a waiver to continue to fly.”

    “Given my positive response, my provider filed a waiver on my behalf, which was approved just over a year ago, allowing me to fly — all while treating my ADHD.”

    “My ADHD diagnosis has also given me a lot to think about, especially the arbitrary, external limitations often set on people like myself.”

    “The reality is that I’ve always been a safe pilot, and I’m probably safer now on medication. But it’s also known that stimulants are generally more effective in treating ADHD symptoms than are non-stimulants. While I’m doing well on a non-stimulant, its counter — the very substance that could preclude me from flying — could make me an even better decision maker, whether in the office or in the sky.”

  2. inspiring article. but there’s one thing I don’t get: why would stimulant medication disqualify the author from flying? doesn’t the Air Force issue “go pills”? one would imagine the same logic applies.

    the FAA does disqualify AMEs from issuing a med cert to pilots taking, say, Ritalin, but their reasoning is that “[in the case of such drugs], it is the condition that becomes primary reason. Many of them are disqualifying for flying.”

    I’m confused =(

  3. I’m not directing this to anyone in particular but wouldn’t it be wiser to go to an outside shrink and pay him in untraceable cash? That would give you some options on how much or how little to disclose. I am a dude over 60 years old who has BP2 plus ADD, so I’m twice as ****ed up. I recently read a book on Bipolar and it had an illuminating chapter on when (if ever) to go public and when to slap a TOP SECRET classification on it.

    In this book one person advocated coming out. Bad idea! Assuming that he did not get eliminated from competition, his bosses will look askance and his peers will launch a whispering campaign against him. His jealous peers will not be kindhearted and understanding! He will have signed the death warrant on his own career.

    Another person who just got hired had what I consider a shrewd and wise plan. While waiting out his 90 day probation period he went to a shrink, paid for it himself and did NOT submit any claims to his company’s health insurance plan until subsequent psych appointments much later. No smoking gun, no traceability that could have killed his chances of getting hired.

    On another subject, I bristle at being diagnosed as adHd. I am not HYPER! Adding in the ‘H’ is another layer of insult, like accusing me of a crime I did not commit. The psych industry refers to all ADD victims as ADHD, a lazy labeling short cut. If an employee’s company health insurance provider should let this slip, what do you think the HR department is going to do? Right! They’ll go on the internet, find the 15 identifying traits of ADHD sufferers and assume that the employee in question is afflicted with all 15 conditions. Not good for the continuance of one’s career.

  4. Very brave of him to share his story. I am happy to see high achievers being successful and managing their mind.

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