What About Alcohol Or Drug Abuse
A history of alcohol or drug dependence may disqualify you from military service.
The military carefully scrutinizes alcohol abuse or drug abuse that requires inpatient or outpatient care.
Problems with alcohol or drugs can become problematic during military service for several reasons.
It can also enhance or worsen symptoms of other, undiagnosed mental health conditions.
How Long Do You Have To Be Off Adhd Medication To Join The Military
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.
There Is No Appeal Process If Your Waiver Is Denied
Here is the deal with waivers you either get a medical waiver or you dont. You cant appeal. The Surgeon Generals office is the appeal. If they deny you the opportunity to serve, then that is the final answer. Writing to your Congressman or Senator wont enhance your chances of joining the service. It just wont happen.
However, depending on your medical condition, there may be other options you can try. For example, each branch of the military, including the Guard and Reserves, has a different Surgeon Generals Office. So if you have a borderline case, you might consider joining another branch of service. You might even consider a career in the Guard or Reserves instead of joining on active duty.
But be careful not to waste everyones time. If your condition is not waiverable, dont go through the application process again it wastes everyones time and money. The only time it is worth going through this process again is if you have medical conditions that are waiverable, but for one reason or another, the branch you applied to decided not to accept you at this time.
There are reasons this can happen. For example, if some branches of the military arent having trouble meeting their quotas, they may not need to take someone with a history of health conditions. All things being equal, they will take the person who doesnt require waivers. .
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Can You Serve In The Us Military With Mental Illness
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Verywell / Evan Polenghi
If you wish to join the U.S. military, be aware that people with current mood disorders or a history of certain mental illnesses cannot serve. The U.S. Department of Defense has a directive which provides a detailed list of the mental health conditions that prevent a person from being in the armed services.
Personality Conduct And Behavior Disorders
The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:
a. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders as evidenced by frequent encounters with law enforcement agencies, antisocial attitudes or behavior, which, while not sufficient cause for administrative rejection, are tangible evidence of impaired capacity to adapt to military service.
b. Personality, conduct or behavior disorders where it is evident by history, interview or psychological testing that the degree of immaturity, instability, personality inadequacy, impulsiveness or dependency will seriously interfere with adjustment in the Army as demonstrated by repeated inability to maintain reasonable adjustment in school, with employers and fellow workers, and with other social groups.
c. Other behavior disorders including but not limited to conditions such as authenticated evidence of functional enuresis or encopresis, sleepwalking or eating disorders that are habitual or persistent occurring beyond age 12, or stammering of such a degree that the individual is normally unable to express themselves clearly or to repeat commands.
d. Specific academic skills defects, chronic history of academic skills or perceptual defects, secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12. Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.
e. Suicide, history of attempted or suicidal behavior.
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Congenital Heart Disease In The Military: What We Need To Know
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of Army/Navy/Air Force, Department of Defense or US Government.
Around 1% of the population is born with congenital heart disease , and the number of Americans with palliated CHD who survive into adulthood continues to grow.1 Likewise, around 1% of the US population serves in the military when considering those on active duty, National Guard and Reserve status.2 Among the nearly 100,000 new military recruits every year, there is a subset with CHD who apply to serve. It is helpful for pediatric and adult congenital cardiologists to understand the basic qualification standards and administrative process required for their patients who may be interested in military service.
With this in mind, the Department of Defense has specified comprehensive standards of medical fitness for entering the military,3 and the Air Force,4 Army,5 and Navy have set their own regulations particular to their branch.6 The Marine Corps falls under the Navy Bureau of Medicine, so Marine recruits follow Navy medical standards. These regulations state that congenital anomalies of the heart and great vessels, along with valvular disorders, are conditions disqualifying an applicant from military service except in those conditions indicated in Table 1.
Table 1: Service-Specific Regulations Pertaining to Select Cardiac Diagnoses
Neurotic Anxiety Mood Somatoform Dissociative Or Factitious Disorders
The causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment and induction are a history of such disorders resulting in any or all of the below:
a. Admission to a hospital or residential facility.
b. Care by a physician or other mental health professional for more than six months.
c. Symptoms or behavior of a repeated nature that impaired social, school or work efficiency.
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Can You Join The Military With Ptsd
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder disqualifies you from military service in most cases.
The problem with PTSD is that the disorder is often linked to serious trauma like what you might experience serving the Armed Forces.
Therefore, serving the military might only make symptoms worse.
You should avoid service to find more effective ways to cope with the disorder.
Applying For A Medical Waiver To Join The Military
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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Can You Get A Waiver For Adhd In The Military
A candidate with ADHD who meets the criteria outlined above needs a medical waiver to be able to enlist into any branch of the military. Medical waivers are initiated and requested by the specific military branch per DOD provisions that allow applicants who do not meet the physical and medical standards to be considered for a medical waiver.
Securing a medical waiver for ADHD, however, is a lengthy, multi-step, and largely imprecise process that carries no guarantees.
Well-documented information regarding the medical waiver process and criteria for each individual branch, for instance, is difficult to find. Whats more, recruiters for each military branch tend to be inconsistent in the information and advice provided to applicants with ADHD. Variations in candidates medical histories and enlistment paths, moreover, makes it nearly impossible to find one, uniform path for hopeful candidates with ADHD.
Pain That Prevents Full Range Of Motion Or Ability
Here are some conditions that fall under this category:
- Any current or history of chondromalacia, including, but not limited to chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome and retro-patellar pain syndrome, chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis
- Current joint dislocation or a history of recurrent dislocations of any major joint such as shoulder, hip, elbow, knee, ankle, or instability of any major joint
- History of recurrent instability of the knee or shoulder
However, surgical repairs may make some of these issues eligible for a waiver.
In addition, any current or history of chronic osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis of isolated joints of more than a minimal degree that has interfered with the following of a physically active vocation in civilian life, or that prevents the satisfactory performance of military duty is disqualifying.
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Foot And Ankle Injuries
Most debilitating foot or ankle injuries will be disqualifying.
- Any current neuroma that impairs walking, marching, running, or jumping, or prevents the proper wearing of military footwear
- Current or history of deformities of the toes that prevent the proper wearing of military footwear or impairs walking, marching, running, or jumping
- Current or history of clubfoot or pes cavus
- Current symptomatic pes planus or history of pes planus corrected by prescription or custom orthotics
- Current ingrown toenails, if infected or symptomatic
- Current plantar fasciitis
Candidates and recruits must not have any current injuries, even if the injury is minor and can heal in a short period of time.
Tell The Truth About Your Ts
No matter how confident you are about your fitness for service, do not be tempted to hedge the truth. Potential recruits are legally required to reveal their medical history, and the military has the right to access all of your childhood medical records. Lying to a recruiter is a felony.
The best option is to be completely honest: a waiver may be possible if you pass a military medical examination, your past health records check out, and you have demonstrated success in school and/or work without the use of medication.
Regardless, would-be recruits with TS dont need to feel stigmatized: the barriers exist for individuals with hundreds of common medical conditions, including asthma and allergies.
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Sample Medical Conditions That Might Stop Or Delay Me Joining
- 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.
- 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.
- Asthma .
- Chronic lung disease such as emphysema, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis.
- 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.
- History of head injury with neurological sequalae.
- History of deliberate self-harm or suicide attempts.
- An active skin disease like severe eczema or widespread psoriasis.
What Services Are Available For Asthma In The Military
Because asthma and related respiratory problems can worsen over time, its important that military servicemembers obtain a thorough evaluation of their health in order to help get treatment to control symptoms, even if youre already in the military.
As with signs of any medical condition during military service, asthma symptoms should also be taken seriously. Every effort should be made to determine whether an individual can continue with military service in order to avoid unnecessary risk to their own life or to the lives of others who serve with them.
Medical research supports the involvement of people with asthma in the military with basic treatment for symptoms.
Research from 2015 in Federal Practitioner suggests that most service members with asthma can remain on active duty when management with inhaled therapies that allows them to meet standards and perform required duties.
Researchers involved in this 2015 study also suggest that an asthma diagnosis should be given along with the following tests to confirm the accuracy of the diagnosis:
- how strongly the airways react to asthma triggers
- how the heart behaves during asthma diagnosis tests
You may have a greater chance of receiving a waiver if:
- you are currently being treated for asthma
- your symptoms appear to be well controlled
- your symptoms are relatively mild
Poorly controlled symptoms are likely to lead to a waiver disapproval and disqualification from joining the military.
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Can You Take Antidepressants In The Military
In the past, the military has disqualified just about any medication related to mental health.
However, the current policy is a little different.
It generally disqualifies anyone that is or has taken medication for mental illness in the last year.
If its been more than a year you may receive a waiver but the military will need to examine your medical records and speak to your physician.
The rules apply to medications like Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Wellbutrin.
However, that doesnt stop the military from reportedly prescribing antidepressants to a surprisingly high number of active-duty soldiers.
Its worth pointing out that some people advise not mentioning any previous mental health diagnoses or medications to a recruiter, as well as MEPS.
The decision is up to you, but some strongly believe that what isnt known doesnt hurt anyone.
However, the military has ways of finding out if the mental health condition is on your medical records.
Condition #19 Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a fairly rare condition that affects the small intestine and makes it very sensitive to consuming gluten. As a result, the individual often avoids gluten in meals.
Unfortunately in the military, much like the case with food allergies, it is unable to follow specific dietary requests. You essentially get what everyone else on the force receives for a meal.
And since you may get assigned to a remote location with limited food and medical help, it could disqualify you from service. Therefore, you may need to apply for a waiver.
How does the military regard hearing? It will test each year for frequencies in order to gauge hearing loss.
The following hearing conditions could disqualify you from service:
- If the pure tone at 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles per second of not more than 25 decibels on the average. No individual level can be greater than 30 dB at the same frequencies.
- Pure tone level that exceeds more than 35 dB at 3,000 cycles per second in each year, or 45 dB at 4,000 cycles per second in each year.
The military will conduct these tests to make sure that the results are within an acceptable standard.
Only significant hearing loss or complete deafness would probably play into a disqualification.
Likewise, if youre deaf in one ear, this would likely also disqualify you from serving in the military.
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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.