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ZD2001
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(Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:27 am

Hello. I am new to this. I just turned 15 in July. For a couple years now, my dream is to become a pilot. Everyday, my mind wanders off thinking of it and is motivates me. I want nothing more. Just very recently, someone told me I may not be able to become a pilot because of my disability. I did not believe them. I looked it up and he was right. At that moment, my heart was crushed. Every time I look into is, the the worse I feel. I do take medication for it and do get help for it. Anyway, I found out you can become a pilot but you can not ever be medicated and have to take many outdated tests. I get A's in school. For any pilots out there, please be honest and tell me if I still can make my dreams come true. Thanks to all who respond or took the time to read this!
 
LawnDart
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:07 am

I have ADHD as well. I am not medicated for it, but I'm a lot older than you. Not sure what medications you are taking (if any), but check the list of drugs that are screened by the FAA as those that can not be taken by flight crew members.

Please don't let this hamper your desire to become a pilot. People with ADHD CAN focus on specific goals, especially if that goal is something that interests them. If becoming a pilot is what you want to do, go for it. You'll regret not having tried, and you'll miss out on a great career (with guys who, among them, have varying degrees of ADHD!).
 
bourbon
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:01 am

You will NOT get an FAA medical if you list that you take or have ever taken Aderall/Vyvanse/Ritalin/Concerta.

Definitely be off the medicine (if you take any) permanently before you get an FAA medical.

The FAA Medical will check for color blindness and diabetes for the most part and they will also ask about medication history.

Keep in mind prescriptions like Viagra have been (not sure if it still is) banned by the FAA for pilots to take due to potential color blindness side effects.

General rule of thumb, any Prescription that is a stimulant/narcotic is going to be on the banned substance list by the FAA?
 
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Web500sjc
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:38 am

It is likely that you could be earn a sport pilot certificate, but with ADHD you can't hold a FAA medical certificate.

The FAA medical application asks "have you EVER been DIAGNOSED with ANY Mental disorders of any sort; depression, anxiety, etc. Even if you don't have ADHD, but have been diagnosed in the past, you have to answer yes. If you answer yes, You will have to prove to the FAA that you do not have ADHD with medical tests. Since you said you have been diagnosed I will tell you that application is not the place to lie. If you have more questions, call an Aviation Medical Examiner.


from AOPA:

"Because of the potential for significant underlying psychiatric or psychological problems and the side effects of medications, the FAA does not currently allow medical certification for a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD requiring the use of medication.

For medical certification consideration, you will need to have discontinued all psychoactive medications for at least the preceding 90 days. After being off the medications for 90 days, a neuropsychological evaluation should be conducted. The neuropsychological evaluation must also include the following three tests:

Trail Making Test
Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT)

If the airman is an adult who has been prescribed one of the stimulant-type drugs for ADD, but has not been diagnosed with the disorder, the medications will have to be discontinued for three days before undergoing the neuropsychological evaluation noted above."
Boiler Up!
 
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zeke
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:52 am

If you have adhd the FAA answer is no.

BUT

Adhd has become a "fad" diagnosis for many people. The idea behind the FAA tests is that you are off medication for at least 90 days prior and then undertake a formal assessment.

The results can either confirm you have adhd or you don't. Many people only find out by doing such tests they never had adhd.

Aopa have resources available regarding this.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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77west
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:41 am

I though that ADHD was just part of being a teenager? Surely it is not an actual "disability" now?

I fully agree with that Zeke said. Funny story, I was diagnosed with clinical depression based off a 20-question exam that asked me to rate certain feelings on a scale of 1-5. I politely told the doc to screw it. They wanted to put me on all sorts of nasties. Turns out I had just been suffering a bit of anxiety due to work stress. (I got forced into going to this doctor by family members)
77West - AW109S - BE90 - JS31 - B1900 - Q300 - ATR72 - DC9-30 - MD80 - B733 - A320 - B738 - A300-B4 - B773 - B77W
 
AcousticPower
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:44 am

Your question convinced me to make my first post in this forum. I'm not entirely acquainted with the FAA regulation on meds but I do know current use of Ritalin, Concerta, any methylphenidate-derivative is a no go. I do however have my own experience with the ADHD diagnosis.

I'm 24 myself and have had the diagnosis of ADHD since I was 6, throughout the years I've taken Ritalin and Concerta on a fairly high dose. There was always this self-doubt if I would ever be able to be a 'proper' functioning adult, turns out the answer was yes. When I was 17 in my teenage wisdom I decided it would be better to just quit taking the meds, both the be able to function without them and get rid of all the nasty side-effects (for those who don't take them, there are many).Turned out going from the highest dose in Concerta to none wasn't that splendid... Long story short, leaving your meds behind is something I would recommend but only under guidance of a doctor and your parents. I've been med free for nearly five years now and even though I still feel like I'm having certain ADHD behavioural signs most of my peers are quite surprised when I share this diagnosis with them.

ADHD is a though one, but do not let it stop you from achieving your dreams. You are still young you still have time to develop yourself don't be held back by prejudice and what not, get into touch with an aviation medical examiner and get some advice from him.

Should you need someone to discuss ADHD with, feel free to contact me.
 
Oykie
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:52 am

I do not know the FAA requrements, other than what has been said further up this thread. But have you thought of starting an airline instead? ADHD is just like having superpower. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, and David Neeleman who started Jetblue both have ADHD. There was an article earlier about successful people with ADHD in Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/dalearcher/ ... 4eb40b7063
Dream no small dream; it lacks magic. Dream large, then go make that dream real - Donald Douglas
 
metaldirtnskin
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:01 am

I looked into this a while back and found what has already been stated above. It's easier for a heart transplant patient to get a medical - if you are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD you have to prove to them you never had it in the first place.

So, all you have to do is never get diagnosed, and never seek treatment.

Maybe one day the FAA will figure out that they are incentivizing people to hide their health issues, and maybe one day they'll come around from their 19th-century attitude towards mental health, but probably not.
 
sevenair
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:45 am

This is the downside of "ADHD" diagnoses. It's almost a badge of honour these days. Doctors are quick to diagnose it, parents quick to accept it.

In my day we called it being difficult or energetic. Firm parenting and the occasional smack were the cure. Drugs companies and society have created this label and people seek to latch on to it. A bit like trendy food allergies that everyone seems to be suffering from. We didn't have any of this when I was growing up - I'm 30.

People are too quick to label themselves. A few nights of restlessness is insomnia. Headaches are migraines or cluster headaches. Preoccupation with a work is stress and anxiety or feeling a little down is now clinical depression. If you wish to have any kind of medical then you need to exercise extreme caution.

It's unfortunate but your diagnosis may cause you problems.
 
groundbird
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:11 am

You are getting great feedback to your concerns here!

May I add: Aim yourself towards that goal of flying. Start today. Find and sign up for groundschool and you'll meet like minded people. Learn to wash aircraft, learn to detall them. Look for jobs in that environment. Open and name a savings account "Sky Dollars"

Don't be boxed in, defined or limited by some pop diagnosis, the latest prescription pad fad.

Best of luck
 
Aptivaboy
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:12 pm

Adhd has become a "fad" diagnosis for many people.


Zeke is absolutely correct. I'm an educator. I see it everyday.

Having said that, there are legitimate cases. I've seen brainscans where kids with severe ADHD have brains that are literally miswired. Do you know what? They lead totally normal lives. With proper treatment, it can be handled. A lot of them go into the military where the discipline helps them to focus; they're attracted to that. One came back to visit last year; he's an APC driver in the army, while others join the Marines in larger numbers,for some reason (again, probably the discipline). I would say don't let your ADHD stop you from pursuing your dream. It can be overcome, it just takes a lot of planning and perseverance.

As others have said, check into what the FAA allows in terms of medication. Talk to your parents, counselors and doctors about a plan to achieve your goals. Best of luck!!
 
qcpilotxf
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:04 pm

I was medicated for ADHD up until I got my first medical to get my license. I had no issues at all, as long as you are off the meds you should be fine. It was definitely hard coming off the meds after being on them for so long and starting college at the same time wasn't easy but its an overcome able issue.
 
Yflyer
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:40 pm

sevenair wrote:
In my day we called it being difficult or energetic. Firm parenting and the occasional smack were the cure. Drugs companies and society have created this label and people seek to latch on to it. A bit like trendy food allergies that everyone seems to be suffering from. We didn't have any of this when I was growing up - I'm 30.


I'm 36, and we totally had those things when I was growing up. I'm sure I had classmates in high school who were diagnosed with ADHD and were taking medication for it. My mom taught elementary school in the 1970s. She says in those days the treatment for "hyperactivity", as it was called back then, was to give kids coffee (not "firm parenting and the occasional smack"). It seems counter intuitive, but being a stimulant like Ritalin, the caffeine would apparently help kids who legitimately had ADHD focus.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:29 am

So I'm a pediatrician with ADHD who manages ADHD in pediatric patients of all (appropriate) ages. In fact, I am a recognized authority in the field. Here's my general thought. First, I defer to the others on the FAA standards. I assume you can't be on any psych meds while you are a pilot.

But second, I would advise you to seriously reflect for a moment on whether piloting is really the best choice for someone with ADHD. I'm not going to say "you can't do it." People said that about me and medicine and I proved them wrong, but consider your strengths. Are you good at sitting still for many hours and staring at the same instruments? People with ADHD do best when there are established routines. Can you handle constantly waking up at different times in different cities? There are other roles in aviation that might grab your interest and that you can do while you are on ADHD meds. Engineering, maybe ATC (which can be great for ADHDers or a disaster...YMMV), etc.

But just as neurosurgery isn't for me (stare at a 2cm hole in someone's skill for eight straight hours? No, thanks.), perhaps being a long-range airline pilot isn't going to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. For me, the primary care environment (schedule is done for me, I have my own assistant who does all the annoying paperwork tasks that ADHDers hate, work is already sequenced) is ideal. You should think about it from that perspective.

And for those of you who are doubting whether ADHD exists:
Image

It exists.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
Woodreau
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:07 pm

I'm not sure if you are in the US or not, One thing you might want to investigate - while you are sorting out the ADHD stuff - is to go fly gliders.
In the US, there is no requirement for a medical certificate required to obtain any pilot certificate with a glider rating. (i.e. you can be a commercial glider pilot and even be a flight instructor (glider) without a medical certificate) However you will need to self-certify that you have no defect that would make you incapable of flying a glider (or balloon.)

At 15, you are already eligible to solo, and can obtain a private pilot certificate (glider) at 16.

Gliders are simpler, less moving parts, i.e. no engine (although there are motor gliders - which do have engines, but that is outside the scope of this topic) All of the skills you learn flying gliders are directly applicable to flying airplanes.

If you can stay focused enough to fly gliders, you can still be a glider pilot while working through the ADHD diagnosis and medication. In the future if you are successful in obtaining a FAA medical certificate, you can then start transitioning onto your airplane ratings, which will be much easier as you will have all of your glider experience to draw from.

http://www.ssa.org
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
peterj324
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:09 pm

The FAA is very strict about medication, I took a prescription Antihistamine that is about at as harmless as a medicine gets but I had to stop taking it to get my FAA medical and for my flight training. If you have ADHD you cannot get your necessary FAA medical if you are on any ADHD prescription medicine (Aderall etc.). If you can do without the medicine for good you can get your FAA medical but you cannot begin taking it again after you get your medical. If you can do without your medication for good, and you really want to become a pilot go for it. You can always talk with or schedule an appointment with a doctor who does FAA medicals (Most doctors don't so look online).
 
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DocLightning
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Sat Oct 08, 2016 5:47 am

peterj324 wrote:
The FAA is very strict about medication, I took a prescription Antihistamine that is about at as harmless as a medicine gets but I had to stop taking it to get my FAA medical and for my flight training.


Cetirizine (ZYRTEC), right? I have no idea why that drug is banned. Loratadine and fexofenadine (CLARITIN and ALLEGRA, respectively) are permitted, as are the nasal steroids.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
peterj324
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:06 pm

DocLightning wrote:
peterj324 wrote:
The FAA is very strict about medication, I took a prescription Antihistamine that is about at as harmless as a medicine gets but I had to stop taking it to get my FAA medical and for my flight training.


Cetirizine (ZYRTEC), right? I have no idea why that drug is banned. Loratadine and fexofenadine (CLARITIN and ALLEGRA, respectively) are permitted, as are the nasal steroids.



Actually its called Cyproheptadine sold under the name Pariactin. The only side effect was drowsiness which i never experienced, but I do understand why its banned.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:07 pm

peterj324 wrote:
Actually its called Cyproheptadine sold under the name Pariactin. The only side effect was drowsiness which i never experienced, but I do understand why its banned.


Oh yeah, I prescribe that stuff sometimes to help with migraines and in my failure to thrive kids as an appetite stimulant, but it's a lousy antihistamine.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
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ZD2001
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:06 am

Thanks everyone for all the replies, I really appreciate it. Thanks again. Your all a big help :)
 
evank516
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:06 pm

The only advice I can give you is to follow your dreams! That's what my mother (may that beautiful soul rest in peace) would always tell me.
 
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ZD2001
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Re: (Just turned 15) Can u be a pilot with adhd

Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:21 pm

Do you think the rules will ever change???

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