Will an anxiety disorder disqualify me?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by auddiegh, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. auddiegh

    auddiegh New Member

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    I was diagnosed with GAD when I was 2. I've only ever had a problem at 2, 8, and 15. I'm 16 now, starting the application process to get into USAFA, and getting off of medication I've been on for a few months. It was the lowest possible dosage of Prozac and I haven't had any single thing happen since I started taking it. It's not as if I have anxiety because of pressure or a fear of anything, I just woke up and had a panic attack, I have no idea what the cause was. For most of my life I've been completely fine and have been a normal child, it's just those 3 times I've ever had problems. I had to go through a lot of testing and such to be able to solo, so my doctors know that my problem isn't bad. It seems kind of stupid to disqualify someone from a dream school because of something they have absolutely no control over and at that, something that is barely a problem. If it is a disqualification, is there anything I can do to get rid of my history.
     
  2. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    I am sorry to be the one to say this, and I really don;t want to sound harsh, but what if the 4th time is when you are in the middle of an enemy attack and our sons and daughters lives are waiting your decision? This unfortunately is not about attending a dream school. I don't know the regs, and wish only the best for you, but....
     
  3. CaliNavyMom

    CaliNavyMom Member

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    I believe the refs are the same all around, must be off meds for a year at minimum. That's the way it works for Navy and USNA that I've read. Follow up on the DODMERB site that should help with questions.
     
  4. tommyboy44

    tommyboy44 Member

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    The only reason I feel that I can comment, is because I just had my DODMERB appointments and clearance. Now please take everything I say objectively and with a grain of salt, for all I know everything I am about to write could be completely wrong. I do believe it will be a disqualification. Much like forumjunkie said, when you go to a service academy, you got to serve in the military. Lets say they let you in and you become an F22 pilot, and now lets say you have an anxiety attack while flying over Texas, you could not only cost yourself your life but also put those on the ground in danger. As for getting rid of your history, you can't and if you try it will show a major lack of character and discipline. They find EVERYTHING, I got asked about having hernia surgery when I was 3 weeks old at my exam. I forgot to put it on the medical history sheet and my father (not surprisingly) and mother forgot about it until the random doctor brought it up. While some things that the military does are in fact very stupid, this is definitely not one of them. I am sorry if this came off harsh, but remember to put others before yourself and try to realize the risk you would be putting them at.
     
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  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I'll cut to the chase.

    The ONLY way you will have this answered is by a DODMERB physician. You "might" get an answer if you went to your local MEPS and asked the medical staff there.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  6. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I do not recommend this.
     
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  7. auddiegh

    auddiegh New Member

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    I thank everyone that replied (don't worry you weren't too tough on me). I just wish someone would have told me this back when I was in 5th grade, when I started dreaming of going to USAFA. I just feel that for some parts of my life, I've had to drag around this disadvantage that I was born with and had no say in. Even when I was trying to solo I had to have so much testing done to prove I'm not crazy. It's as if the world thinks I'm one panic attack away from going postal and hurting people. I understand where they're conning from, you don't want someone to have a panic attack while flying a plane, I just find it hard to believe that all those thousands of people that have gone to military academies are completely perfectly healthy people with no problems.
     
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    No they aren't. But it's an evaluation of risk. They evaluate how much something will reoccur? How hard is it to support a health issue while deployed to a remote location? What happens if they don't get the med or they have an incident of whatever? Are they healed from an injury and will it reoccur? Is this person commissionable? What happens if anxiety or asthma hit while in the cockpit, in the middle of a fire fight or while convoying and you are in charge? Plenty of people are born with challenges that want to go to a SA they have zero control over. Some of them are extremely minor that will keep them out. I mean a peanut allergy can disqualify them. Panic attacks are obviously something they will watch extremely closely. The SAs are a pressure boiler and they want to ensure you can handle that. But the stress can be nothing like what you face when trying to land at an air strip under fire with 60 soldiers in the back of your plane. I served with a Major and LCpl who both had somehow gotten through their physicals with Tourrette's. While deployed it clearly became clear and both became liabilities while deployed, couldn't be used so others had to pick up their work and then it took more work for everyone just to get them home from a war zone. They were both discharged from service.

    Bottom line, you have taken step one. Under physician care you got off the medicine. As others stated be prepared for a DQ and remedial. Ensure your info is clearly documented to include the 3 incidents and how low a dose you were on. Also ensure your files clearly indicate the date you stopped taking it and haven't had incidents since then. All you can do is apply, be truthful and let cards fall where they may. In many cases it all works out.
     
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  9. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    You also must face the unfortunate fact that you have this "condition" on your medical records and hundreds or even thousands of applicants will not. I am colorblind. Back in the day it kept me out. My son is not colorblind. He is a plebe at USNA. I had to find another path. I went to a good school and still did the major I wanted and it is cool. I'm not saying give up on the dream because just the pursuit will make you much better. I'm just saying that if it doesn't happen your still a great kid.
     
  10. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I "personally" agree...just giving options...but honestly...press ahead and let DODMERB do their thing.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  11. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    You might try contacting Capt./Dr. Merchant of DODMERB Consultants. He is a former Marine pilot and Navy Flight Surgeon who is a retired DODMERB Director. He now consults with SA candidates privately for a fee, to evaluate their chances of passing DODMERB.

    http://www.dodmerbconsultants.com/

    No one on this forum can tell you for sure if you can overcome this obstacle, but Dr. Merchant would be much more qualified to tell you if you have any shot at this.

    Full disclosure: My DS did not need his services and your results may vary, but others on this forum have given him favorable reviews.
     
  12. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    You cannot get rid of you history.
    I have not seen it posted here yet but here are the DodMERB standards http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/613003p.pdf for Anxiety disorder. Look at the exceptions and see if all apply.
    p. History of anxiety disorders (300.01), anxiety disorder not otherwise specified (300.00), panic disorder (300.2), agoraphobia (300.21, 300.22), social phobia (300.23), simple phobias (300.29), other acute reactions to stress (308) UNLESS:
    (1) The applicant did not require any treatment in an inpatient or residential facility.
    (2) Outpatient care was not required for longer than 12 months (cumulative) by a physician or other mental health professional (to include V65.40).
    (3) The applicant has not required treatment (including medication) for the past 24 continuous months.
    (4) The applicant has been stable without loss of time from normal pursuits for repeated periods even if of brief duration; and without symptoms or behavior of a repeated nature that impaired social, school, or work efficiency for the past 24 continuous months.

    If you do not meet the standard, a waiver would be required. Based on this dated document https://www.jmu.edu/rotc/prospective-cadets/Non-waiverable medical conditions.pdf a waiver is possible. How probable is up to the commissioning authority, the needs of the service and how bad they want you.
     
  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    It's the episode at age 15 that will be closely examined. Go ahead and start the process; maybe you'll get a waiver!

    Now, as to attitude: there are hundreds of conditions which would disqualify a candidate. The temptation to want to hide something serious, for which you take a pharmaceutical which alters brain chemistry, is understandable but certainly you must accept that GAD is not the same as having one's orthodontia removed before the start of BCT.

    DoDMERB will make the determination and will do so with a relatively objective eye.

    Good luck!
     
  14. serendipity

    serendipity Member

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    My two cents: Honestly, you should be fine getting in (obviously, I could be wrong, but as long as it's not incapacitating and you can finish BCT, it shouldn't be a problem); however, you might not be pilot qualified. There are SO MANY jobs in the Air Force though. If you want to go to USAFA, I'd say go for it.
     
  15. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    You won't know unless you try. You may have outgrown the condition (it happens!)

    Something to keep in mind (and not to dissuade you, only to make you aware!)
    I know of one young lady who had panic attacks during BCT a few years ago. Remember this is a highly stressful, little sleep, pressure-cooker period of time. She was disenrolled because she was unable to complete the program.

    So what I would ask is - how are you in pressure cooker environments?
     

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