FactsCan I Join The Military If I Have Adhd

Can I Join The Military If I Have Adhd


Army Adhd Policy For 2019

How I got into the Army with an ADHD waiver

Things were a little bit different when we spoke to an Army recruiter. Sergeant Hewitt, who is a recruiter for the Army stationed in Atlanta, Georgia, said that the Armys policy is slightly more lenient than other branches of the military.

Heres what he had to say:

If you are currently taking ADD/ADHD prescriptions, then you are not deployable. If you took prescriptions in the past, then you must have a waiver from the doctor stating that you no longer show symptoms in the past 7 years.

If the service member thinks they have ADHD, the service member goes to a doctor on base to see if they are ineligible. The bottom line is you cannot deploy if you are taking ADD/ ADHD medication. Anytime you get disability while serving in the Army, the VA compensates you a percentage.

He also referred me to a document that states, in no uncertain terms, that you cannot take any ADD/ADHD or other psychiatric medications while serving in the Army unless a waiver is granted.

Those medications include, but are not limited to:

  • Benzodiazepines: Includes medications like Ativan, Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin.
  • Class II Stimulants: Includes medications like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Dexedrine, Focalin XR, or Vyvanse.

Check out the full list of prohibited medications here.

How Do You Get A Medical Waiver

Applicants typically learn about the medical waiver process when they meet with a recruiter the first enlistment step for any branch.

Most applicants disclose their ADHD history in conversation with the recruiter, but they also must indicate their ADHD history in the medical documents they must fill out as part of the enlistment process.

One of these documents is the Accessions Medical Prescreen Report, or the DD 2807-2, which requires applicants to check yes or no if they were evaluated or treated for ADHD, and if they are taking or have taken medication to improve attention. Applicants must also explain all yes answers in a separate section. Consequences for failing to answer truthfully or making false statements are noted in the form.

This prescreen form is completed with the help of the recruiter, and is reviewed by a medical professional at a Military Entrance Processing Station typically the second step in the recruitment process, during which potential enlistees take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and undergo a medical examination.

Each branch has its own waiver authority board, which will make the waiver determination based on all available information regarding the issue or condition, as well as the specific needs of the military service, according to DOD guidelines.

Skin And Cellular Tissues

The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Acne, severe or when extensive involvement of the neck, shoulders, chest, or back would be aggravated by or interfere with the wearing of military equipment, and would not be amenable to treatment. Patients under treatment with isotretinoin are medically unacceptable until eight weeks after completion of course of therapy.

b. Atopic dermatitis or eczema, with active or residual lesions in characteristic areas , or documented history thereof after the age of 8.

c. Contact dermatitis, especially involving rubber or other materials used in any type of required protective equipment.

d. Cysts.

Cysts, other than pilonidal, of such a size or location as to interfere with the normal wearing of military equipment.

Pilonidal cysts, if evidenced by the presence of a tumor mass or a discharging sinus. History of pilonidal cystectomy within six months before examination is disqualifying.

e. Dermatitis factitia.

f. Bullous dermatoses, such as Dermatitis Herpetiformis, pemphigus and epidermolysis bullosa.

g. Chronic Lymphedema.

h. Fungus infections, systemic or superficial types, if extensive and not amenable to treatment.

i. Furunculosis, extensive recurrent or chronic.

j. Hyperhidrosis of hands or feet, chronic or severe.

k. Ichthyosis, or other congenital or acquired anomalies of the skin such as nevi or vascular tumors that interfere with function or are exposed to constant irritation.

m. Leprosy, any type.

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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.

Miscellaneous Conditions Of The Extremities

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The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:

a. Arthritis.

Active, subacute or chronic arthritis.

Chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis of isolated joints of more than a minimal degree, which has interfered with the following of a physically active vocation in civilian life or that prevents the satisfactory performance of military duty.

b. Chronic Retropatellar Knee Pain Syndrome with or without confirmatory arthroscopic evaluation.

c. Dislocation if unreduced, or recurrent dislocations of any major joint such as shoulder, hip, elbow or knee or instability of any major joint such as shoulder, elbow or hip.

d. Fractures.

Malunion or non-union of any fracture, except ulnar styloid process.

Orthopedic hardware, including plates, pins, rods, wires or screws used for fixation and left in place except that a pin, wire or screw not subject to easy trauma is not disqualifying.

e. Injury of a bone or joint of more than a minor nature, with or without fracture or dislocation, that occurred within the preceding six weeks: upper extremity, lower extremity, ribs and clavicle.

f. Joint replacement.

g. Muscular paralysis, contracture or atrophy, if progressive or of sufficient degree to interfere with military service and muscular dystrophies.

h. Osteochondritis dissecans.

i. Osteochondromatosis or multiple cartilaginous exostoses.

j. Osteoporosis.

k. Osteomyelitis, active or recurrent.

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Endocrine And Metabolic Disorders

The following conditions may disqualify you from military service:

a. Adrenal dysfunction of any degree.

b. Diabetes mellitus of any type.

c. Glycosuria. Persistent, when associated with impaired glucose tolerance or renal tubular defects.

d. Acromegaly. Gigantism or other disorder of pituitary function.

e. Gout.

Goiter, persistent or untreated.

Hypothyroidism, uncontrolled by medication.



i. Nutritional deficiency diseases. Such diseases include beriberi, pellagra and scurvy.

j. Other endocrine or metabolic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, porphyria and amyloidosis that obviously prevent satisfactory performance of duty or require frequent or prolonged treatment.

Can I Join The Army If I Am Older Than The Maximum Age For Enlistment

The maximum age to join the Army as an enlisted Soldier is 35, and you must enter active duty prior to your 36th birthday. For Officers, you must accept your commission by age 32. However, restrictions can be lifted based on the need for certain roles. Recruits can receive an age waiver, so long as they can retire with 20 years of military service by age 55. Talk to a recruiter to get a better understanding of the demand for certain roles.

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Medical Standards Of The Military: Things You Should Know

I would like you to know that the military takes issues regarding mental health seriously. So, you need to be mentally sound not only to gain entry into the army but to remain in service.

Besides depression, I would also like you to know that other conditions can disqualify a person from gaining entry into the military. Illness is one of them. Some sicknesses can make one unfit to join the U.S. army or continue in service.

The use of certain drugs can also disqualify some persons. Plus, even if one was misdiagnosed, it still can prevent the individual from joining the army. Thats the way things are.

Below, I will list the various medical conditions that can disqualify an individual from joining the military.

What About Herbal Remedies Or Supplements

This will only make sense if you have ADHD/ADD

Herbal remedies, dietary supplements, and similar products are not FDA related, may not have scientific studies or peer-reviewed research associated with them, but a variety of them fall into the smart drugs category for one reason or another. Most of the things listed here are available over-the-counter and have no restrictions in terms of military regulations.

That said, any military member considering the use of one or more of these substances or products should consult a primary care physician first and their orderly room, first individual, Sergeant Major, etc. before using to make sure regulations or military orders dont prohibit the use of a particular product.

This warning is not just a boilerplate caution in years past military regulations have been modified to prohibit the use of products that are legally available synthetic marijuana, bath salts, herbal ecstasy and other products have been banned by base commanders depending on the location and the nature of the problem with a given substance.

Prohibitions on a higher level such as a major command or even at the DoD level are not unheard of.

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Air Force Admits Nearly 2000 Airmen Under Medical Waiver Policy

The U.S. Air Force has admitted nearly 2,000 recruits on medical waivers for eczema, asthma, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and other learning disabilities since a new medical policy went into effect nearly two years ago, according to recent statistics from the Air Force Surgeon General’s office.

Between Jan. 1, 2017, and September 2018, the service issued 1,908 waivers for the previously disqualifying medical conditions to airmen and officer candidates across the active-duty Air Force, Guard and Reserve, statistics show.

The service implemented its expanded medical policy via the Air Force Memorandum for Appearance and Accession Standards Review last January in an effort to give prospective airmen another chance to enlist or commission on a case-by-case basis.

The breakdown of new recruits spans four authorities: Air Education and Training Command, home of Basic Military Training the U.S. Air Force Academy the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command, according to the collected data provided through the surgeon general.

Abdominal Organs And Gastrointestinal System

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 Meckel’s 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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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also an anxiety problem.

The disorder causes persistent mental or emotional stress which is usually a result of some form of trauma.

Unfortunately, PTSD is a common mental illness that gets diagnosed to patients who previously served in the military.

While it is rarer for people to try and join the military with PTSD it is not completely abnormal.

Unfortunately, the military considers PTSD a disqualifying mental health condition.

If youve been diagnosed with PTSD you likely wont receive a waiver.

Effects On Service Members


While currently having mental health conditions or a history of a serious mental disorder technically prohibits military service, research data suggests that many are skirting the rules. A study published in 2014 found that 25% of non-deployed U.S. military members had some sort of mental disorder, including panic disorder, ADHD, or depression. Two-thirds of these had their conditions prior to enlisting.

The study also found that more than 11% of U.S. military enlistees had more than one disorder. Interestingly, intermittent explosive disorder was one of the most common conditions found.

How are people getting around the rules? It’s not entirely clear, but people find ways to circumvent the regulations, most in the vein of, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The problem lies not in the disregard for the rules, but in the risk to the person who enlists. For instance, in the 2014 study, enlistees who had mental disorders prior to enlisting were more likely to have difficulty performing their job. In addition, the rules make it unlikely that someone who develops a mental health condition in the military will seek appropriate help.

Rules for military pilots are even stricter than those for general armed forces enlistment.

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Can Phobias Anxiety And Self

Lets take a look at suicidal behavior. Does it make you unfit to join the military? Well, the simple answer is yes!

An individual who has exhibited suicidal behavior is automatically unfit for the military. Self-mutilation is another thing that disqualifies an individual. People with such history are considered unsuitable to join the army.

Another serious issue that disqualifies people from joining the military is an anxiety disorder. It could be a historical or current issue. It could be panic, social phobia, agoraphobia, simple phobias, including obsessive-compulsory disorders. Having these issues can disqualify an individual from joining the military.

I will also like to add that the military is stressed. So, you have to be ready to handle stress and be efficient. Showing acute reaction to anxiety or post-traumatic stress can disqualify a person. These Stress Management Strategies from BetterHelp will allow you to be free from stress.

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.

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Why Adhd Restrictions For Military Service Are Unfair

As a clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience working with individuals with ADHD, I say that the militarys policies effectively cut off a population of talented, capable, and intelligent people from a tremendously valuable career path.

Military service is often an excellent option for people with ADHD, many of whom do well in highly structured environments and thrive on activity, which military service delivers in spades.

The problem with the militarys guidelines is that they label and discourage a population of people at the outset. Each branchs waiver customs may well allow for consideration of the person. But as written, the military is arbitrarily enforcing a blanket policy on people with ADHD.

One of the misconceptions about ADHD, for instance, is that these individuals cannot pay attention, and therefore are unfit for certain positions and situations. But this is not the case ADHD biology includes the ability to hyperfocus intensely when the person finds something interesting with or without medication. Depending on the person, the job, the interest level, and how talented they are for the kind of work, a person with ADHD can do extremely well in many jobs in the military.

As for IEPs what difference should it make if a student had an IEP after age 14? Many people need assistance with organization, structure, accountability, and more throughout high school. This has no bearing on how organized or responsible they may be at 20.

Sample Medical Conditions That Might Stop Or Delay Me Joining

This will ONLY makes sense if you have ADHD/ADD PT.2

Gastrointestinal problems:

  • Chronic abdominal diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Significant history of dyspepsia.
  • History of kidney problems such as malfunction of a kidney or kidney stones.
  • Recurrent renal colic.
  • Structural abnormalities of the spine and spinal cord.
  • History of chronic or recurrent back pain.

Blood diseases:

  • Disorders resulting in abnormal coagulation.

Bone or joint problems:

  • Knee injuries and chronic knee pain.
  • History of bone fractures.
  • Shoulder problems resulting in functional limitations or restrictions of movement.
  • Loss of a limb.
  • Chronic joint diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
  • Hypermobility syndrome.
  • Symptomatic or medication-suppressed abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Cardiomyopathy.
  • Asthma .
  • Chronic lung disease such as emphysema, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Current perforation of ear drum.
  • Chronic ear diseases like cholesteatoma.
  • Presence of eardrum ‘grommets’.
  • Chronic eye conditions such as glaucoma, keratoconus and retinitis pigmentosa.
  • Damage to the eyelids affecting vision.
  • Chronic conjunctivitis.
  • Reduction of corrected vision in one eye below army entry standards.
  • Diplopia.
  • History of head injury with neurological sequalae.
  • Migraines.
  • History of deliberate self-harm or suicide attempts.

Skin problems:

  • An active skin disease like severe eczema or widespread psoriasis.

Other conditions:

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