Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Can You Join The Military With Anxiety

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Is Having Anxiety Or An Anxiety Disorder Disqualifying


As we mentioned earlier, anxiety is a broad term which covers several different mental illnesses.

For example, bipolar disorder and PTSD are extremely severe forms of mood disorders and usually difficult to receive a waiver.

Meanwhile, other forms of anxiety such as having panic attacks or dealing with mild forms of depression may allow you to obtain a waiver.

The military examines whether you recently had inpatient or outpatient care related to your anxiety.

It also studies if you took any prescription medication to help deal with anxiety in the last year or last three years depending on the condition.

General And Miscellaneous Conditions And Defects

The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Allergic manifestations. A reliable history of anaphylaxis to stinging insects. Reliable history of a moderate to severe reaction to common foods, spices or food additives.

b. Any acute pathological condition, including acute communicable diseases, until recovery has occurred without sequelae.

c. Chronic metallic poisoning with lead, arsenic or silver, or beryllium or manganese.

d. Cold injury, residuals of, such as: frostbite, chilblain, immersion foot, trench foot, deep-seated ache, paresthesia, hyperhidrosis, easily traumatized skin, cyanosis, amputation of any digit or ankylosis.

e. Cold urticaria and angioedema, hereditary angioedema.

f. Filariasis, trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis, uncinariasis or other parasitic conditions, if symptomatic or carrier states.

g. Heat pyrexia, heatstroke or sunstroke. Documented evidence of a predisposition , recurrent episodes requiring medical attention or residual injury malignant hyperthermia.

h. Industrial solvent and other chemical intoxication.

i. Motion sickness. An authenticated history of frequent incapacitating motion sickness after the 12th birthday.

j. Mycotic infection of internal organs.

k. Organ transplant recipient.

l. Presence of human immunodeficiency virus or antibody. Presence is confirmed by repeatedly reactive enzyme-linked immunoassay serological test and positive immunoelectrophoresis test, or other DOD-approved confirmatory test.

What Happens If You Lie To The Military About Adhd

Many hopeful military candidates with ADHD grapple with whether to disclose their ADHD history at all in the recruiting process, and wonder if the benefits outweigh the potential consequences of hiding a past diagnosis.

DOD guidelines explicitly state that applicants for enlistment must fully disclose all medical history. Applicants who lie about their medical history can be disqualified from enlisting. If an individual is selected for enlistment based on false information, he or she may be subject to military prosecution or a dishonorable discharge, among other actions.

The fact is, however, that many candidates have enlisted into the armed forces after hiding or outright lying about their ADHD history. Some individuals, driven by an unyielding desire to serve their country, may be inclined not to reveal their ADHD history for fear of outright disqualification. Sometimes, the notion is proposed, in not so many words and with unspoken understandings, by recruiters themselves. This advice also appears across online forums and groups.

Others may be reluctant to submit to a lengthy waiver process with no promise of success. Those who have been off medication for quite some time and have not needed interventions to succeed at school or at work may feel even more justified in hiding their ADHD history during the enlistment process.

Today, Jonathan is in college and taking medication to treat ADHD.

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Panic Attack Led To Diagnosis

Now getting ready to graduate in June and thinking about what his future holds Cooper said said he was diagnosed with GAD after a panic attack that occured two years ago while he was taking an exam at school.

“I went to a psychologist, he said. I just wanted to see what they could do for me, and what they first did is they recommended a medication.

Cooper was prescribed Prozac, a common antidepressant medication also known as a SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Prozac can be used to treat depression, obsessive compulsiveness and anxiety.

Cooper said he felt he did not need the medication and that, after trying it for a while, he stopped taking it. He said he learned about anxiety, and developed personal coping strategies that worked for him.

“I want to prove to that my anxiety is not controlling me. And that I have methods in place where I can control the anxiety, he said.

Now in his last year of high school at ODonel High School in Mount Pearl, Cooper said he is aiming for grades that are above 90 per cent. He adds that he is overall an A student.

He also heads a mental health support group at his school. He said teachers and friends can vouch for his daily capabilities and that he has a strong volunteer presence both in school and in the community.

“I don’t think that people should have to hide the fact that they have a mental illness,” Cooper said.

Applying For A Medical Waiver To Join The Military

Can You Serve in the U.S. Military With Mental Illness?

Once you get your 2807-2 back from MEPS and you look through the TDQ or PDQ they gave you, you will need to prepare your case for a medical waiver. Basically, you will need to get a doctor or medical specialist to review each item for which you received a TDQ or PDQ. The doctor will need to write a note on his or her letterhead with the date, your medical history for that condition, your current condition, and whether or not you are physically capable of serving in the military, based on his or her assessment.

You will need to pay for the medical examinations our of your pocket. The military will not cover this expense.

Once you have these letters, you will need to submit them and a new 2807-2 to your recruiter. Your recruiter will then start the waiver process by sending the forms and supplemental information to the Surgeon Generals Office for your branch of service. The Surgeon Generals Bureau may or may not request additional information.

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Waivered Recruits Do Not Always Perform Worse And Sometimes Perform Better Than Similar Nonwaivered Recruits

  • Contrary to expectations, waivered recruits and recruits with a documented history of marijuana or behavioral health conditions are not uniformly riskier across all dimensions. In some cases, they are historically more likely to perform better. The results that most closely conform to expectations are in cases of recidivism, in which accessions with a specific characteristic are more likely to have negative outcomes associated with that characteristic. For example, if a recruit fails to complete the first term, recruits with a documented history of marijuana and recruits with a drug and alcohol waiver are more likely than other recruits to separate because of drug abuse.
  • The performance of an accession cohort would change relatively little if waivers were increased. The same is true with an increase in the share of accessions with a documented history of marijuana or behavioral health conditions.
  • The legalization of marijuana has not resulted in worse recruit outcomes, and there is no strong evidence that changes in marijuana legislation have substantially changed recruit outcomes.
  • The Army likely could do more to offset cases of adverse outcomes among waivered recruits and recruits with a documented history of marijuana or behavioral health conditions. In general, having higher aptitude test scores, having Tier 1 education status , or being older often fully or partially mitigated the higher likelihood of adverse effects related to performance and misconduct.

Can You Join The Military With Adhd

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most restricted health categories when it comes to enlisting for service in the United States military. While ADHD alone does not disqualify a person from military service, the Department of Defense places significant enlistment restrictions on individuals with an ADHD diagnosis and/or prior treatment with medication.

According to the DODs medical standards for enlistment, last updated in 2018, ADHD is considered a disqualifying condition if an applicant:

  • Was prescribed medication to treat ADHD in the last two years
  • Was recommended or prescribed an IEP or 504 Plan, or work accommodations after age 14
  • Has a history of comorbid mental disorders
  • Has documentation of adverse academic, occupational, or work performance.

Individuals with ADHD need a medical waiver to be able to enlist if they meet these points, with the branches Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force typically requiring that applicants be off medication for several months and prove that they can function without it to be considered for a waiver. Each branch, however, seemingly has different standards that applicants have to meet before being able to apply or qualify for a waiver.

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How Depression And Anxiety Can Be Harmful In Airforce

Serving for the country needs a lot of mental strength more than physical strength. Depression and anxiety, if severe compels an individual to not do his or her daily activities. The individual can feel left out and become hopeless. They would need help either by medications or therapies.

In the air force, people are trained to become extremely strong mentally which becomes impossible for people who do not even have mental disorders. For a person suffering from depression has to treat themselves before they can join the airforce otherwise the strict military practices can be harmful and detrimental to their health.

How Long Do You Have To Be Off Adhd Medication To Join The Military

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Recruiters generally tell applicants that they must be off medication for a considerable length of time by far the most important measure to take and show that they are able to function properly while off medication prior to starting the enlistment process and to be considered for a waiver.

The time frame required to be off medication differs across the branches and even among recruiters within the same branch. Some also recommend different approaches to demonstrating proper functioning without medication.

In the Army, Navy, and Marines in particular, recruiters largely advise applicants with ADHD to be off any and all stimulant or nonstimulant medications for at least one year.

Some recruiters, notably within the Air Force, tell applicants they must be off medication for 15 months or more . The Coast Guard which represents just 3 percent of active armed forces members is widely considered to be the most difficult branch to successfully petition for an ADHD waiver.

The time spent off medication should be noted by a doctor in the applicants medical and pharmacy records, and handed in as part of the waiver process. The records should also describe the applicants ADHD history, diagnosis, treatment, and stability while off medication.

Apart from medical documentation, recruiters may also recommend that applicants submit transcripts and letters of recommendation to showcase evidence of successful academic and work performance while off medication.

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Diagnosis And Classification Of Psychiatric Conditions

Military policies regarding psychiatric conditions are based on standards and diagnoses adopted by the American Psychiatric Association , and reflect the views and assumptions of the mainstream psychiatric establishment in this country. Nontraditional psychiatric diagnoses and therapy are normally treated with contempt in the military setting. The military uses the classifications, definitions and criteria set out in the Diagnostic andStatistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the APA, Fifth Edition . This manual attempts to define individual psychiatric disorders, listing specific symptoms and criteria for each and often including detailed discussion of conditions which may be related to or mistaken for others. DSM-5 also attempts to consider gender, racial and cultural differences which may affect diagnosis, including behavior which may be entirely appropriate in one culture or religion but considered symptomatic of illness in another. A few military regulations, which have not been recently updated, refer to prior versions of the DSM, usually DSM-IV-TR , but military evaluations and decisions should be based on DSM-5.

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Navy Disqualifying Medical Conditions

Here are some of the medical conditions that require a waiver to continue and serve in the U.S. Navy.

Some of these conditions make it harder to receive a medical waiver.

Notwithstanding its still possible to receive clearance:

  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia

NOTE: The U.S. Navy recently adapted its medical waiver process. You can learn more details about the revised policy, including the opportunity to request a second medical waiver review, here!

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A Bill To Allow Recruits With Previous Mental Health Treatment Is On The Way

In the vast majority of cases, young Americans hoping to join the military are barred from signing up if theyve previously been treated for anxiety, depression or other mental health struggles. But there is some interest in changing that.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, is working on a bill that would remove some of those barriers, he said Wednesday during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Were telling young Americans, right now, if your dream is to be an Air Force pilot and you have depression as a 16-year-old girl, you either need to not go get help, or if you did go get help and youre prescribed drugs and then you apply to be an Air Force pilot, youve got to lie, he said.

This has particularly been an issue with children whose parents have served, a very common demographic for new recruits, as their medical records are easily pulled from the Defense Departments own systems.

Back in 2017, famously,an Army lieutenant colonels daughter tried to enlist in the Air Force, but because she had met with a counselor as a child, struggling with her dads deployments, the Air Force refused to let her join.


Her family fought back, and in 2019 she was finally granted a waiver.

I think that is so wrong, Sullivan said. Thats happening right now.

While a mental health diagnosis generally disqualifies a recruit from the military, therapy and medication are available to service members diagnosed while in uniform.

Abdominal Organs And Gastrointestinal System

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The following conditions may disqualify you from military service:

a. Esophagus. Ulceration, varices, fistula, achalasia, or other dysmotility disorders chronic or recurrent esophagitis if confirmed by appropriate X-ray or endoscopic examination.

b. Stomach and duodenum.

Gastritis. Chronic hypertrophic or severe.

Active ulcer of the stomach or duodenum confirmed by X-ray or endoscopy.

Congenital abnormalities of the stomach or duodenum causing symptoms or requiring surgical treatment, except a history of surgical correction of hypertrophic pyloric stenosis of infancy.

c. Small and large intestine.

Inflammatory bowel disease. Regional enteritis, ulcerative colitis, ulcerative proctitis.

Duodenal diverticula with symptoms or sequelae .

Intestinal malabsorption syndromes, including postsurgical and idiopathic.

Congenital. Condition, to include Meckels diverticulum or functional abnormalities, persisting or symptomatic within the past two years.

d. Gastrointestinal bleeding. History of, unless the cause has been corrected, and is not otherwise disqualifying.

e. Hepato-pancreatic-biliary tract.

Cirrhosis, hepatic cysts and abscess, and sequelae of chronic liver disease.

Cholecystitis, acute or chronic, with or without cholelithiasis, and other disorders of the gallbladder including post-cholecystectomy syndrome, and biliary system.

Note. Cholecystectomy is not disqualifying 60 days postsurgery , providing there are no disqualifying residuals from treatment.

f. Anorectal.

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Is It Worth Pursuing A Military Career If I Have Adhd

It is easy for applicants with ADHD who want to serve in the military to feel discouraged by these guidelines. Its important to remember, though, that recruiters do take an interest in helping applicants, especially those who advocate for themselves.

Recruiters want to, and will, work with applicants to determine their best fit in a specific branch. Recruiters can spend hours interviewing and taking questions from a single applicant. Many engage in non-binding dialogue to gauge an applicants eligibility before asking them commit to any processes or formally submit documentation.

Some recruiters, for example, are known to have applicants fill out a slightly modified version of the medical pre-screening report one that will stay between the recruiter and candidate prior to filling out the official version of the report. The recruiter may explain to an applicant that reviewing the modified questionnaire lets them to gauge whether a candidates medical history requires more documentation, and allows applicants to decide if they have the time and willingness to proceed should any red flags appear.

Hopeful service members must conduct their own research prior to joining, which means speaking to a doctor about the plan for and ramifications of getting off medication, and finding a branch and career that accommodates and accentuates strengths while minimizing weaknesses.

Dont ever stop fighting to get in if thats what you want to do, he said.

How Long Does A Military Medical Waiver Take To Get Approved

Its difficult to set an accurate timeframe for military medical waivers.

There are several factors to take into account, and much of the timeframe depends on the type of medical condition and the severity of the issue.

Often, a military medical waiver needs to pass varying levels of approval before you are granted permission to enlist.

In general, expect at least two weeks to a month to hear back on a military medical waiver.

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Tips To Combat Anxiety Before Leaving For Military Service

Preparing to depart for military service fills us with many emotions. Being anxious about leaving home, moving to a new city, living with new people, doing new and difficult tasks for your job, and having to stay in shape can be stressful. However, it is very common to have anxiety for a few months before departing.

As an example of this anxiety, I have included the following email from a teenager who is preparing to join the Army and serve this great country:

Hey, Stew, I am an Army recruit going to Airborne after Basic. I have pretty bad anxiety over my weight. I’m 5’5″ and according to the goarmy.com website, I can be up to 163 pounds. I’ve never been near that number, but I’m currently 158 pounds. I’m usually around the 154-156 mark. I rarely eat sweets or drink sodas. I stick to generally healthy foods, but I eat a lot of healthy food. Before the Army, I would feel full after a meal. Now, I feel like I could still eat. I contribute that feeling to having a more active metabolism and working out daily. I drink about 80-100 ounces of water a day and eat at least every three hours.

I don’t know. I just wanted to share my thoughts and get this feeling of guilt off my chest. I had to tell somebody whom I know will somewhat understand as I’m going through this fitness journey in my life all alone.

Thanks for listening and sorry for the long-windedness. Damon

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