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View Full Version : FAA- Medical (Anxiety)


MartinEden
11-22-2017, 02:39 PM
Hi forum,

Quick question, on the MedExpress questionnaire to apply for a class one medical license, question 18 asks a bunch of questions to which all is a "no" for me, except for the anxiety one. I'll explain below:

Basically earlier this year, my finances were very tight along with other life troubles going on all at once and I felt like perhaps there was something wrong with me, health-wise, so I went to the ER. They ran their tests and the doc said that I was experiencing a bit of anxiety due to the life troubles, and sent me home. No medicine, nothing.

Then a month or so later I went again to my regular doctor, just to patch things up. He concurred with what the ER doc had said, so I left and I've felt great since then.

I'm basically a healthy male, workout, run, very fit...etc. But now that I see this question, I am like...damn, perhaps it would have been better to just suck it up and let it pass since it would have passed. Haha... Now I have these two "anxiety diagnosis" on my record.

Then question 18 leads to question 19 which asks if I've seen any doctors within the past 3 years, which just my luck...it's only been these two instances. Lol....

I guess what I am getting at is if this is going to affect me in any way?

Oh, and like many, my goal is to one day get hired by one of the legacies...

Thanks!!


rickair7777
11-23-2017, 06:34 AM
An active anxiety diagnosis will most likely disqualify you from holding any medical. Typical anxiety meds (SSRIs) are disqualifying, but it's possible to get a waiver to fly on SSRI's... this is a recent relaxtion, and my understanding is that very few people have been granted the waiver, so it would be a very uphill battle.

So the best way forward is to resolve the anxiety. If you're young and still transitioning from home life and trying to get through college, that's a naturally stressful time and some anxiety would be common for many people.

Typically you can avoid anxiety by managing stress and lifestyle. Exercise and healthy diet are important (also good for anyone who needs to hold a 1C medical to age 65). Alcohol will exacerbate anxiety and depression as well, one or two drinks (beer/wine) might actually help you relax and have health benefits, but more than that will have various health ramifications. Also mental health professionals can give you guidance on how to avoid thought patterns which can lead you down a rabbit-hole, and may advise meditation, yoga, etc. Too much caffeine might keep you from relaxing when you need some downtime. A common problem for young adults is that there's so much going on between school, work, social life, and opportunities for an unlimited variety of activities that people tend to not get down-time even when they really need it.

The problem is that since it's now documented, you need to address it. It's important at this point that you DO NOT submit any FAA paperwork, or talk to an AME. You need to pay an aviation medicine consultant to advise you on how to proceed.

The best way ahead will likely be to get mental health counseling, and make any needed changes such that a psychiatrist will give you a clean diagnosis in writing. It will also need to state that the anxiety is unlikely to return. Then and only then will you want to talk to an AME. But like I said talk to a consultant, that german-wings tool has caused the FAA to really scrutinize mental health issues recently.

EMAW
11-23-2017, 08:02 AM
Everyone has stress and anxiety at some point. The key is mitigating it. If you can’t control it, or you need meds to control it (chronic), an accurate self examination should reveal that and regardless of what an AME says you should remove yourself from the flight deck. Talk to someone other than the AME before you throw a career away, but prepare yourself for the reality of not flying.
Sorry, didn’t read the whole thing. But I agree with the other poster. Talk to a psychiatrist and make it a regular thing. If they give you a clean bill of health, you shouldn’t have any problems.


MartinEden
11-23-2017, 10:39 AM
Thanks, EMAW, and Rickair, I appreciate the detailed reply. Frankly, I don't know if it's an "active diagnosis" since it was only those two visits, and I was not prescribed any medications. The doctor basically recommended that I fix the things in my life which were causing it and it would go away, which it did.

Regardless, I will consult a mental health counselor as you suggested and proceed from there. Thanks!

rickair7777
11-23-2017, 11:52 AM
Thanks, EMAW, and Rickair, I appreciate the detailed reply. Frankly, I don't know if it's an "active diagnosis" since it was only those two visits, and I was not prescribed any medications. The doctor basically recommended that I fix the things in my life which were causing it and it would go away, which it did.

Regardless, I will consult a mental health counselor as you suggested and proceed from there. Thanks!


If you're feeling fine, then you'll just need to a get a shrink to certify that in writing, and confirm that you'll stay that way. Make sure you stay healthy.

Expect scrutiny from the AME, due to germanwings. The AME will most likely have to defer to OKC, so it could take months to get a 1C. Plan accordingly. Keep whatever letter you get from the FAA, you'll need that if you change AME's.

MartinEden
11-24-2017, 03:26 AM
If you're feeling fine, then you'll just need to a get a shrink to certify that in writing, and confirm that you'll stay that way. Make sure you stay healthy.

Expect scrutiny from the AME, due to germanwings. The AME will most likely have to defer to OKC, so it could take months to get a 1C. Plan accordingly. Keep whatever letter you get from the FAA, you'll need that if you change AME's.

Thanks again, Rick. Yeah, I'm feeling fine, I know that having had that experience taints me a bit, but I've always believed in conquering and overcoming obstacles, and some things happen for a reason I guess, anyways, I'm actually going to get my medical record emailed to me from my health provider so that I can be exact with regards to the dates, and the wording, then I'll go see the AME and proceed from there.

And yes, I understand the scrutiny that is to come, as a member of the flying public I wouldn't want to have it any other way. It just sucks to be on the other side of it, haha, but hopefully, everything turns out fine.

rickair7777
11-24-2017, 06:08 AM
Thanks again, Rick. Yeah, I'm feeling fine, I know that having had that experience taints me a bit, but I've always believed in conquering and overcoming obstacles, and some things happen for a reason I guess, anyways, I'm actually going to get my medical record emailed to me from my health provider so that I can be exact with regards to the dates, and the wording, then I'll go see the AME and proceed from there.

And yes, I understand the scrutiny that is to come, as a member of the flying public I wouldn't want to have it any other way. It just sucks to be on the other side of it, haha, but hopefully, everything turns out fine.

Again, I would recommend talking to an aviation medicine consultant BEFORE the AME. Most AME's do it part time, and may not understand all the nuances of complex certification issues (unless they've done one like yours recently). The consultants do this for a living. Also, ultimately, the AME represents the FAA's interests, not yours.

If you or your AME take the wrong approach with the FAA, it can greatly complicate and delay the process. There are even some misteps which can irrevocably career-ending.

MedicalTruth
11-24-2017, 08:45 AM
If you went to the ER based on financial stress and "other life problems", you should never be flying an airplane.

Everyone has problems in their life. If you can't deal with everyday stress, how are you going to deal with an engine fire, explosive decompression, gear up... etc?

Stay out of the cockpit and on the ground until you can deal with stress.

It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air and wishing you were on the ground.

MartinEden
11-25-2017, 05:10 AM
Again, I would recommend talking to an aviation medicine consultant BEFORE the AME. Most AME's do it part time, and may not understand all the nuances of complex certification issues (unless they've done one like yours recently). The consultants do this for a living. Also, ultimately, the AME represents the FAA's interests, not yours.

If you or your AME take the wrong approach with the FAA, it can greatly complicate and delay the process. There are even some misteps which can irrevocably career-ending.

Sweet, I will do that. It's a bit confusing since the whole thing was such a passing moment, but I guess I have to take all the necessary precautions moving forward, and I will. Thanks again, this thread has been very helpful and hopefully everything pans out.

Xdashdriver
11-25-2017, 11:21 AM
Again, I would recommend talking to an aviation medicine consultant BEFORE the AME. Most AME's do it part time, and may not understand all the nuances of complex certification issues (unless they've done one like yours recently). The consultants do this for a living. Also, ultimately, the AME represents the FAA's interests, not yours.

If you or your AME take the wrong approach with the FAA, it can greatly complicate and delay the process. There are even some misteps which can irrevocably career-ending.

Being an aviation medical consultant and an AME are not mutually exclusive. AMEs are like an airline APD....they put on the FAA hat for a specific event. Outside of the FAA medical exam they have no obligation to report anything to the FAA. Provided he sees someone that is familiar with how to handle his case it doesn't matter whether he's an AME or not. I would argue it is better to talk to someone who IS an AME and knows the current FAA protocols etc.

Xdashdriver
11-25-2017, 11:23 AM
Sweet, I will do that. It's a bit confusing since the whole thing was such a passing moment, but I guess I have to take all the necessary precautions moving forward, and I will. Thanks again, this thread has been very helpful and hopefully everything pans out.

If your medical record reflects what you've told us here, you may find it's a fairly straightforward process. A bunch of pilots on a message board probably aren't going to give you accurate info.

rickair7777
11-25-2017, 12:05 PM
Being an aviation medical consultant and an AME are not mutually exclusive. AMEs are like an airline APD....they put on the FAA hat for a specific event. Outside of the FAA medical exam they have no obligation to report anything to the FAA. Provided he sees someone that is familiar with how to handle his case it doesn't matter whether he's an AME or not. I would argue it is better to talk to someone who IS an AME and knows the current FAA protocols etc.

The consultants are typically former AME's. I'm not sure you're correct that a doc can take his AME hat on and off, at least not legally. Pretty sure if he learns something during normal practice, and them later conducts an FAA exam, he cannot "forget" what he knew.

Yes, I know there are some very "practical" AME's out there... in fact I know one myself. But no guarantee that a non-pilot kid will get the same consideration as a 121 pilot with an established relationship with the doc.

rickair7777
11-25-2017, 12:08 PM
If your medical record reflects what you've told us here, you may find it's a fairly straightforward process. A bunch of pilots on a message board probably aren't going to give you accurate info.

It was straightforward... before germanwings. FAA has turned up the heat. My bro, who went through this drill many years ago, had his AME dredge it all up again last year.

MedicalTruth
11-26-2017, 06:59 PM
The OP is a Snowflake.

Plain and simple.

The OP should never be in a cockpit until learning to overcome stress.

Xdashdriver
11-26-2017, 07:46 PM
It was straightforward... before germanwings. FAA has turned up the heat. My bro, who went through this drill many years ago, had his AME dredge it all up again last year.

One AME dredging things up doesnít mean theyíre all doing it. Your bro needs a new AME.

Xdashdriver
11-26-2017, 07:50 PM
The consultants are typically former AME's. I'm not sure you're correct that a doc can take his AME hat on and off, at least not legally. Pretty sure if he learns something during normal practice, and them later conducts an FAA exam, he cannot "forget" what he knew.

Yes, I know there are some very "practical" AME's out there... in fact I know one myself. But no guarantee that a non-pilot kid will get the same consideration as a 121 pilot with an established relationship with the doc.

Iím not suggesting he forget anything. However, if he does a consultation but does not subsequently perform an exam, he is under no obligation to report anything, that was straight from an AMEís mouth.

I can guarantee the AME I recommended to the OP will give him every consideration necessary. He is intimately familiar with complex cases and does them all the time.

MedicalTruth
11-30-2017, 07:16 AM
Iím not suggesting he forget anything. However, if he does a consultation but does not subsequently perform an exam, he is under no obligation to report anything, that was straight from an AMEís mouth.

This is true, and is also law.

Google HIPPA for those who would like more information.

Deputy1999
12-02-2017, 05:57 PM
Don't let all these people scare you into paying consulting firms for advice and what not. A full-time AME (preferably a HIMS guy) will know what to do in order to give you the best chance at getting certified. Start gathering your medical records now as this will save you time and make sure that the doctor that diagnosed you can put in the records that you're stable and the issue is resolved. I know a guy with more extreme diagnosis who got a first class medical issued, but he did have to jump through some hoops, being a $1200 psych evaluation from a specialized aerospace psychiatrist....but he got certified. The FAA likes honest pilots and as long as the situation is resolved and you give them the information/records they seek; you should be good to go. Good luck.



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