Medical Anti-depressants

Clock

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Just curious, I have not seen any chatter about anti-depressants. All guidance I have researched lists this a a disqualifier with very limited exceptions. It seems to me like just about everyone and their mother is on meds these days? Seriously, is there not one ATC who takes anti-depressants? Does anyone have information on waivers or flight surgeon protocals regarding this matter?
 

MJ

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Disqualifying almost always. No it’s not a thing in ATC.
There is a pilot program to study changing to the policy, but it won’t be changing anytime soon.

EDIT: This is referering to current/continuing use, not necessarily true based on past use.
 
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C_Ro

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I have a considerable amount of experience in this area. Current use, like MJ said, major issue. Past use is another story, and one I'm well versed in. PM me if you want specifics/guidance on getting past your medical.

And in fact, whoever reads this in like 3 years from now with questions on the matter, feel free to PM me, I will respond.

I've spent way too much money getting around this to not share my experiences with it.
 

MJ

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I have a considerable amount of experience in this area. Current use, like MJ said, major issue. Past use is another story, and one I'm well versed in. PM me if you want specifics/guidance on getting past your medical.

And in fact, whoever reads this in like 3 years from now with questions on the matter, feel free to PM me, I will respond.

I've spent way too much money getting around this to not share my experiences with it.
Do you have any resources you would be able to share, since this comes up fairly often?
 

C_Ro

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Sorry MJ, I thought I replied to this already.

As far as resources go, I've found the majority of what I've read to be either flat out wrong, or perhaps outdated. There is no resource I can point to, except my own experiences dealing with it.

There are about 50 things you can do to speed up the process, as in getting things ready before they even are asked of you. Past records, statements, etc.

Perhaps I should write up a guide I suppose to assist others. I've spent about $3k total now at this point, and finally seeing the end of the tunnel.
 

C_Ro

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Hello all, I had no idea how many people would reach out for some guidance in this area. This thread must be popping up quite a bit in searches.

So on those that message me, I'm trying to streamline this a little better. Please reply with this information below when you message me.

There are a lot of variables. The biggest being how long you took them, and why. Things like suicidal idealization, violence, or other forms of a deeper psychosis can bring about complicated issues and possible disqualification.

If you want my opinion on your specific situation, I need details, which includes personal information that you might not want to give. Understandable. However, there is no way around this, as there are tons of variables to consider. No names, or anything like that, just details on your situation to help me understand things better.

If you'd like me to look further at your situation, please provide the following information, in this format, past age 13.

Date of initial appointment:
Date of initial prescription(s):
Length of time on prescription(s):
Name of prescription(s):
Circumstances of depression:
Suicidal ideation: Yes or No
Violent ideation: Yes or No
ADD/ADHD Medication: Yes or No
Date since last psychological related appointment:
Would your past psychologist/psychiatrist provide a current recommendation in your favor:
Have any psychological issues been noted or discussed with your current employer:

If you provide this information, I can let you know what I think will happen in your situation, and what you need to do to get in front of it.
 
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nbk14

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Disqualifying almost always. No it’s not a thing in ATC.
There is a pilot program to study changing to the policy, but it won’t be changing anytime soon.
Based on how many people who told you they were DQ?

It's the common cold of mental illness--i'd be more concern with people who never had depression.

I've read up and some were DQ, some made it through. I think the ones that were OK used it in the past.
 

mattak49

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I had anti-depressant usage for a few months just a little before I tested and got my TOL. Disclosed it all, still got my medical, so it's definitely not DQ. It probably varies based on various factors, I would imagine.
 

C_Ro

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Ya guys I'm sorry, but I just can not keep up with everyone. I've got too much going on at the moment.

Get some research in, but what I'd say is past use of anti-depressants is not even close to disqualifying anymore.

The problem arises within your therapists notes. Suicidal ideation, violence, attached with any kind of substance abuse disorder, DUI, etc, will be very difficult to overcome. (and I might add, justifiably, - this isn't the business to be in if that has ever been an issue.)

"Situational Depression" (as in loss of family member, PTSD, etc) is the most favorable of reasons for being on anti-depressants and is how you should describe your depression.

A favorable recommendation from your prescribing physician along with a current psychological evaluation from a different psychologist/psychiatrist will go an incredibly long way.

Even tranquilizing types of prescriptions (benzodiazepines) are in no way disqualifying. Everyone's case is different, but this should in no way discourage anyone from making an attempt at this.

What I would say is the most difficult to overcome, is ADHD medication. I was prescribed ADHD medication for literally less than a month almost 10 years ago, and it was 100 times more difficult to get around than being on antidepressants and tranquilizers for years.

If you have ever, I mean this literally ever, been prescribed any sort of ADHD medication expect to get your wallet out. You will have to pay out of your pocket for a Cog Screen and Neuropsychological exam. All together, about $4200 for me.

I hope this helps, and sorry guys, I wish I could get to all of your messages, they just keep adding up and I've had a stressful year thus far.

Best of luck to all.
 

artur19922

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@C_Ro:
Genuine question, what made you want to gamble with $4200 out of pocket for a Cog Screen/neuropsychological exam, that you didn't know if you would pass for a career that might not have taken you anyway? Like, what was your thought process? Not judging, just not sure if I would have the balls you did.
 

vectorwagon

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Can’t speak for him but a friend at one of my previous facilities did something similar and had to basically do the same thing for a similar expenses and gambled because, in short, he knew he would pass. Was acting out as a teenager just being a teenager, parents getting divorced, moving, etc, so parents dragged him to a psych who threw a bunch of meds at him, didn’t take them for long but eventually just basically matured/grew up and got his shit together, went to college got a job etc and has done just fine and when it came time to get hired at this job felt like he needed to be honest and disclose that history. After jumping through all those hoops and spending the money he kind of thought it was something nobody would’ve ever found out and seeing what everybody else lies about considered that maybe that would’ve been the way to go and saved the hassle and money but at least now everything has been done the right way and it’s not an issue.

Now I feel Kinda weird blasting all that out there, but it’s pretty generic information I guess. Oh those midnight Tower talks, what you learn and talk about LOL
 

nbk14

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Can’t speak for him but a friend at one of my previous facilities did something similar and had to basically do the same thing for a similar expenses and gambled because, in short, he knew he would pass. Was acting out as a teenager just being a teenager, parents getting divorced, moving, etc, so parents dragged him to a psych who threw a bunch of meds at him, didn’t take them for long but eventually just basically matured/grew up and got his shit together, went to college got a job etc and has done just fine and when it came time to get hired at this job felt like he needed to be honest and disclose that history. After jumping through all those hoops and spending the money he kind of thought it was something nobody would’ve ever found out and seeing what everybody else lies about considered that maybe that would’ve been the way to go and saved the hassle and money but at least now everything has been done the right way and it’s not an issue.

Now I feel Kinda weird blasting all that out there, but it’s pretty generic information I guess. Oh those midnight Tower talks, what you learn and talk about LOL
So your friend disclosed it-- but when did he get the cog screen and exams? Did they tell him it would disqualify him and then he got those exams or did he get ahead of it and took it before the flight surgeon interviewed him?
 

vectorwagon

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I’m not 100% but I think he knew it was potentially disqualifying before he got hired like during the researching process, so he used one of those services from the beginning, i’m not sure of the name, just googling I found one called pilot medical solutions and there’s also one that I believe natca has as part of our union benefit by a different name which I don’t know off the top of my head ... and this isnt just for depression issues but any type of potentially disqualifying health issue, basically they tell you all the documentation you need upfront and I think they work directly with the FAA to help get your stuff toward the front of the line and have all the documentation in a nice little package initially so that way they have everything they need all at once from the get go and the company works with the FAA and it can get approved as opposed to just try to do on your own, God only knows what pile on whose desk it’s going to get stuck under for how long and between the back-and-forth of what you need, these Companies know what is needed and work directly with the FAA so that’s part of the money too is paying for a service but all things considered could be worth the cost? The services cost too. I think if you’re in the FAA already and in natca that one might not cost extra because it’s part of the Nacca benefit but not positive .

Oh but to answer your question if I remember correctly he said the company has you get all of that stuff first and THEN go get your medical which the flight surgeon has no choice but to deny/defer or whatever and then you send a copy of that to this company and then they send all that in together to the FAA.

We had got talking about this stuff because I myself had a situation that I was worried was going to disqualify me so we got all into this. It turns out I was fine but that’s how I know all this stuff. At least how I remember from how he explained it. I believe under the current guidelines to be using these medications you would almost have to do those tests every single year so in my opinion if somebody can avoid that route I’d avoid it. I mean it’s a gamble but only you know your situation and I imagine they may be able to give you an idea too.

If I understand the process correctly (which I may not) it’s not the AME that does your flight physical that approves or denies - I mean they can pass you if there’s nothing to DQ but if it comes to something that could potentially disqualify you they defer it and then it’s actually the FAA making the decision (prob regional flight surgeon?) as opposed to just that individual AME doctor.
 
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GulfBravoPapa

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If I understand the process correctly (which I may not) it’s not the AME that does your flight physical that approves or denies - I mean they can pass you if there’s nothing to DQ but if it comes to something that could potentially disqualify you they defer it and then it’s actually the FAA making the decision (prob regional flight surgeon?) as opposed to just that individual AME doctor.
This is correct. The doctor you have your appointment with is only filling out the paperwork. They do not make the decision.
 

C_Ro

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@C_Ro:
Genuine question, what made you want to gamble with $4200 out of pocket for a Cog Screen/neuropsychological exam, that you didn't know if you would pass for a career that might not have taken you anyway? Like, what was your thought process? Not judging, just not sure if I would have the balls you did.
Hey guys, sorry I haven't been on the forum lately. I apologize to all those that messaged me and I didn't respond. I had no idea of how many messages I would receive and just didn't have the time/energy to reply to all.

As for your question, I knew I would pass the Cog Screen. The only reason I was forced to take it was because I was prescribed Concerta for all of about a month. My doctor just jumped the gun as we were trying a lot of things. So this popped me up as possible ADHD, though I was quite confident I was not ADHD.

If I understand the process correctly (which I may not) it’s not the AME that does your flight physical that approves or denies - I mean they can pass you if there’s nothing to DQ but if it comes to something that could potentially disqualify you they defer it and then it’s actually the FAA making the decision (prob regional flight surgeon?) as opposed to just that individual AME doctor.
This is absolutely correct. The flight physical is purely a physical test. As in if you are in a situation regarding mental health he may or may not (probably not) even bring it up. My flight surgeon did not even ask about the mental health aspects. He said on his end I was cleared. Then your medical FAA contact will contact you about the next steps in the process.

I’m not 100% but I think he knew it was potentially disqualifying before he got hired like during the researching process, so he used one of those services from the beginning
This is also correct, I did in fact pay for this kind of service. I somewhat regret going this direction, because it could have been avoided. But in the grand scheme of things I learned quite a bit about the process through the service.

Edit: made a couple little typo changes
 

Knoxboxed

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Hey guys, sorry I haven't been on the forum lately. I apologize to all those that messaged me and I didn't respond. I had no idea of how many messages I would receive and just didn't have the time/energy to reply to all.

As for your question, I knew I would pass the Cog Screen. The only reason I was forced to take it was because I was prescribed Concerta for all of about a month. My doctor just jumped the gun as we were trying a lot of things. So this popped me up as possible ADHD, though I was quite confident I was not ADHD.



This is absolutely correct. The flight physical is purely a physical test. As in if you are in a situation regarding mental health he may or may not (probably not) even bring it up. My flight surgeon did not even ask about the mental health aspects. He said on his end I was cleared. Then your medical FAA contact will contact you about the next steps in the process.



This is also correct, I did in fact pay for this kind of service. I somewhat regret going this direction, because it could have been avoided. But in the grand scheme of things I learned quite a bit about the process through the service.

Edit: made a couple little typo changes
How could it have been avoided? I myself have been prescribed adderall in the past as a misdiagnosis and can’t imagine this being a necessary route.. especially from other stuff I’ve read you’re one of two stories Where I’ve seen go through a cog test. From what I’ve gathered most people just obtain recommendations from current doctors and past psyc to confirm the no adhd
 

C_Ro

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How could it have been avoided? I myself have been prescribed adderall in the past as a misdiagnosis and can’t imagine this being a necessary route.. especially from other stuff I’ve read you’re one of two stories Where I’ve seen go through a cog test. From what I’ve gathered most people just obtain recommendations from current doctors and past psyc to confirm the no adhd
To my knowledge, if they are made aware of any ADHD medication prescription whatsoever, it is unavoidable. Perhaps the two FAA doctors that I was sent to were incorrect in saying so. It's certainly possibly, and for your sake and countless others, I hope that is the case.
It will be necessary if you disclose it. Take from that what you will.
Ya, this. If I were to never have mentioned it I do believe I would have slipped through the cracks. But worrying about it somehow popping up further down the line in my career seemed like a risk not worth taking.
 
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