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ADHD, Meds, & Military Service

Sam I am

Average looking, not a farmer.
pilot
Contributor
I used the search function and found some info...but figured I'd start a thread with the key words in the title for others to key in on moving forward.


I have a relative who thinks they may want to go into the military. They're graduating from high school this spring and talked to the recruiter on high school career day. They asked him if he had any medical issues and replied truthfully that he takes daily meds for ADHD. The conversation pretty much stopped there since they considered him "dead wood" and wasn't able to get any follow up questions answered since the recruiters moved on to other students.

  1. Is there a waiver process for ADHD?
  2. Is ADHD medically disqualifying for all billets, only certain designators, or are there roles a diagnosed ADHD person can still fill?
  3. If you can wean yourself off meds for an extended time period and can function are you good to go? If you only used meds as child are you good to go?
Any other insights, please sound off. Thanks in advance.
 

exNavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
I used the search function and found some info...but figured I'd start a thread with the key words in the title for others to key in on moving forward.


I have a relative who thinks they may want to go into the military. They're graduating from high school this spring and talked to the recruiter on high school career day. They asked him if he had any medical issues and replied truthfully that he takes daily meds for ADHD. The conversation pretty much stopped there since they considered him "dead wood" and wasn't able to get any follow up questions answered since the recruiters moved on to other students.

  1. Is there a waiver process for ADHD?
  2. Is ADHD medically disqualifying for all billets, only certain designators, or are there roles a diagnosed ADHD person can still fill?
  3. If you can wean yourself off meds for an extended time period and can function are you good to go? If you only used meds as child are you good to go?
Any other insights, please sound off. Thanks in advance.
There can be a possibility of a waiver, but the appetite for giving those waivers varies as people who make that decision rotate in and out of that position.

He would need to be off the meds and no longer have a prescription for those meds for many years, he basically could complete his college degree while waiting for that time to pass.

It will also depend on what the medical documents say.
 

number9

Well-Known Member
I had an ADHD diagnosis in the medical history which I disclosed to my recruiter. I argued that it was a misdiagnosis, got some proof from my PCP, and successfully obtained a waiver. I wasn't applying for anything aviation-related, though.
 

exNavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
I had an ADHD diagnosis in the medical history which I disclosed to my recruiter. I argued that it was a misdiagnosis, got some proof from my PCP, and successfully obtained a waiver. I wasn't applying for anything aviation-related, though.
Were you currently taking ADHD meds when you applied for the waiver? If not it is a completely different situation.
 

number9

Well-Known Member
Were you currently taking ADHD meds when you applied for the waiver? If not it is a completely different situation.
No, I was several years removed. But I did get a considerable amount of grief from merely having the diagnosis in my history, and they made me get a waiver for it (fair enough I suppose)
 

exNavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
No, I was several years removed. But I did get a considerable amount of grief from merely having the diagnosis in my history, and they made me get a waiver for it (fair enough I suppose)
There was a time where it was an easy waiver, then after an issue with a few people the waiver became nearly impossible, now it is possible again.
 

number9

Well-Known Member
I have a relative who thinks they may want to go into the military. They're graduating from high school this spring and talked to the recruiter on high school career day. They asked him if he had any medical issues and replied truthfully that he takes daily meds for ADHD. The conversation pretty much stopped there since they considered him "dead wood" and wasn't able to get any follow up questions answered since the recruiters moved on to other students.
Going back to OP... I almost always prefer AW to Reddit, but there is a shitload of ADHD content on /r/newtothenavy: search results here. The general consensus is that you can't join while being medicated, and you need to be off medication for either 1 or 2 years before joining.
 

exNavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
Going back to OP... I almost always prefer AW to Reddit, but there is a shitload of ADHD content on /r/newtothenavy: search results here. The general consensus is that you can't join while being medicated, and you need to be off medication for either 1 or 2 years before joining.
Depending on the doc who is making the call at N3M it could be up to 5 years, I saw many get DQ'd that had up to 3 years of no meds and had done well in college.

The point is you need to be off for at least a few years and be able to show you no longer need the meds.
 

Sam I am

Average looking, not a farmer.
pilot
Contributor
Roger that, folks. That's what I suspected to hear. TBH, it's just as well as I don't think the drive is there. He's super smart, really talented, but not mentally tough.
 

exNavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
Roger that, folks. That's what I suspected to hear. TBH, it's just as well as I don't think the drive is there. He's super smart, really talented, but not mentally tough.
I have the same issue with one of my relatives, who is also on ADHD meds, and is also graduating this spring from high school, I could have been telling the same story.
 

MIDREGS

Member
Re: mental toughness

I think you’ll see a major change in attitude, sociability, and personality when anyone gets off of adderall, etc.
 

Griz882

Livin' On the Right Side of the River From Pags!
pilot
Contributor
I imagine that rule will change soon. I think close to 60% of the kids I coached last summer were on ADHD meds. Recruiting is going to be tough in a world where parents actively seek that diagnosis.
 

Sam I am

Average looking, not a farmer.
pilot
Contributor
I'll offer my personal opinion: the kid went from troubled every in every regard in early middle school to an absolute rock star of an athlete, student, and human being when the meds were introduced. It was shocking how effective they were/are. He became 1000 percent more coachable, teachable, and homework went from hours of tears and frustration to non existent as he was able to get everything done in his study halls and advisory periods. His parents were stunned by the turn around. That's just an opinion from the outside looking in.

As an aside, my wife is a Special Ed teacher and she was amazed that at least 50% of the pilots she new when we were in the navy met the textbook definition of ADD.
 

exNavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
I imagine that rule will change soon. I think close to 60% of the kids I coached last summer were on ADHD meds. Recruiting is going to be tough in a world where parents actively seek that diagnosis.
The number of kids that are put on ADHD meds that don't need to be in pretty surprising as well. There are several kids whose parents I know just had to go to the doc and say their kid has trouble doing homework and boom, pills are flying. I know a few psych docs who have told me we are over medicating kids and not doing right by them.
 
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