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View Full Version : Anxiety Vs Class 1 medical


mrsandman
06-18-2018, 10:05 AM
Hello all,
I'm looking to receive some guidance after my recent visit with an AME, while attempting to renew my 1st class medical. Quick backstory is that I am a chimerical pilot but i'm not currently working as one, i'm actually an engineer. However, I just went for my first class anyway as I always have done in the past. So i am also a veteran and have been deployed and like many who came home, had come home with some PTSD. I did the right thing and was seen by the VA and was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety (PTSD is a form of anxiety). I was on some anxiety meds and in therapy for a year or so, but I haven't been on meds in 4 months or so. In fact my doctor gave me a clean bill of health and haven't been in treatment either. After a years worth of counseling i'm feeling great and back to what some may call NORMAL. 3 weeks ago I went to see my AME to get my medical renewed and I had answered YES to having a mental health problem in the past and explained to him my situation. However he needed to see my VA medical records (which he hasn't yet) in order for the FAA to do an evaluation on my medical treatments. The VA knows i'm a pilot and they also have no concerns with me flying. I know this because I had to ask my therapist of there was any concerns for me flying, and I was told that "as long as I feel good and continue to feel good" there shouldn't be any issues. So is there any steps I should be taking in the meantime. The FAA has not yet sent me anything in the mail regarding a release of medical records from the VA? Thanks.


Ski Bird
06-18-2018, 12:02 PM
I would start by reviewing the info on the FAA.GOV website.

You can google "FAA guide to Aviation Medical Examiners", and it will be one of the first results. Here is a link for item 47, psychiatric conditions (https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/app_process/exam_tech/item47/amd/).

You aren't wrong to start gathering all of the info you have, sometimes that requires a lot of lead time in and of itself (particularly if you are dealing with VA records and such).

I would be hesitant, however, about turning over anything that the FAA hasn't asked for.

Once your request for a medical certificate gets deferred, you will receive a letter from the FAA explaining (in detail) what they need from you and what the next steps are.

Good luck!

mrsandman
06-18-2018, 12:34 PM
Thanks,
I'll keep doing more research. Basically I don't want to get blind sided by anything that might be coming up. So far what I've read is people who do have anxiety and fly need to be off meds for "X" number of months (i believe it's 2) and have their physician state that in their record. Mostly this is for mild cases of anxiety (correctable and not severe) However what worries me is that I was getting seen for a year by the VA. Like I said though it's been 4 months since i've been off meds and feel great. Funny thing is flying is more therapeutic than stressful for me. But i'll keep doing some reading and research. Thanks for the help.


rickair7777
06-18-2018, 01:30 PM
You should be fine. Anxiety is common enough and the FAA is pretty tolerant of "situational" anxiety and depression, which are almost a fact of life at some point for many people. You're removed from the "situation", had treatment and are fine. They'll just need to see the documentation. They might also ask you to sit for a second evaluation, but I'm guessing not in your case.

If it were me, I probably wouldn't describe flying as being therapeutic. Fun, yes. But therapeutic implies a need for therapy...

JohnBurke
06-19-2018, 01:39 AM
What the VA thinks about you flying really doesn't matter; what the FAA determines is everything. While the FAA aeromedical will use and rely on data from your physicians, they'll also determine what they want to see, and they'll ultimately interpret what's collected.

If on psychotropic chemicals, you may need to show at least a year's separation from the drugs, as well as a diagnosis showing clear, before you can be considered for issuance.

rickair7777
06-19-2018, 05:53 AM
One more thing regarding the VA...

I'm guessing you do NOT want a VA disability rating for any mental health issue (might get away with a zero % placeholder for past history). That would tend to indicate that there is an active disorder if the VA is paying you for it.

The people who advise folks about VA disability claims tend to encourage you to claim anything and everything, and throw in the kitchen sink to boot, to maximize your benefit. This can backfire big-time for pilots, who then have to try to "undo" a federal government diagnosis for a condition they don't really have anymore.

pilotboy1
06-21-2018, 07:58 AM
I would highly recommend consulting with Dr. Bruce Chien over in Illinois. You can consult with him easily. I wish I had known about him when I had a very similar issue previously. For me, the FAA paperwork became a problem as the FAA kept asking for more and the psychologist was clearing me to fly but we couldnt figure out what the FAA really needed to approve it. Chien knew exactly what they needed as the psychologist had no experience with the FAA. I am almost through this now and should soon be cleared to fly.

Anyway, Chien knows the ins and outs of the FAA and will be able to give you some good insight as to what they might need to see. Even at an early stage I would recommend a consultation. 2 heads are better than one and he really knows what he's doing. I think you could save yourself SIGNIFICANT cost, difficulty, and delay by just calling him. He will give you the best counsel as to what to expect.

Aeromedicaldoc (http://www.aeromedicaldoc.com/)

-Fellow pilot

Excargodog
06-21-2018, 08:18 AM
One more thing regarding the VA...

I'm guessing you do NOT want a VA disability rating for any mental health issue (might get away with a zero % placeholder for past history). That would tend to indicate that there is an active disorder if the VA is paying you for it.

The people who advise folks about VA disability claims tend to encourage you to claim anything and everything, and throw in the kitchen sink to boot, to maximize your benefit. This can backfire big-time for pilots, who then have to try to "undo" a federal government diagnosis for a condition they don't really have anymore.

And along the same lines, watch out what diagnoses are given to your kids. A lot of school districts play the 'special needs' game, getting more government aid by having as many kids as possible declared as requiring special needs, the commonest scam being to assert the kid is ADD and telling parents their kid needs to be evaluated - sometimes recommending a list of "knowledgable" pediatricians who they know throw this diagnosis (and the Ritalin and other drugs that go with it - around pretty loosely. There are middle schools in my town where 50% of the male students have been diagnosed as ADD, most for no more than being boys. And everyone benefits. The school gets more money, the pediatricians get more money, the parent is relieved of responsibility for their kids acting out, and the kid himself is given more slack when he does act out because he isn't misbehaving, just manifesting the symptoms of his illness.

Until 15 years later when he wants to get a Flight physical and finds he must somehow put together historical evidence and recommendations enough to convince the FAA that he had been misdiagnosed and had never had the condition to begin with despite years of taking a controlled medication for that condition. Not impossible, but long, tedious, and expensive.

Because nobody in the aeromedical community can reasonably expect their career to survive the hit if they issue a waiver for someone for ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER and that person is at the controls at the time of an aviation mishap.

I'm not saying the syndrome doesn't exist, but it damn sure doesn't affect 50% of the randomly selected male students at any public middle school. Don't sell your kids future for a scam.

jumppilot71
08-02-2018, 08:35 PM
I know this is an older thread, but the important thing is whether or not you were actually diagnosed AND given a rating by the VA for PTSD. If so, it matters what percentage and then the fun begins.

slink12
02-07-2019, 04:37 AM
I know this is an older thread, but the important thing is whether or not you were actually diagnosed AND given a rating by the VA for PTSD. If so, it matters what percentage and then the fun begins.
That is the reason why some people should take a medicine before flying. It will be better for them, crew and surrounding passengers. For example, there is a medicine called kratom. 100% natural and helps to overcome anxiety. So why would you have this headache with medicine certifications etc, when you can just temporary overcome this issue?

tomgoodman
02-07-2019, 05:33 AM
That is the reason why some people should take a medicine before flying. It will be better for them, crew and surrounding passengers. For example, there is a medicine called kratom. 100% natural and helps to overcome anxiety. So why would you have this headache with medicine certifications etc, when you can just temporary overcome this issue?

The Mayo Clinic calls this stuff unsafe and ineffective. Check with your doctor.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/kratom/art-20402171

Excargodog
02-07-2019, 07:36 AM
That is the reason why some people should take a medicine before flying. It will be better for them, crew and surrounding passengers. For example, there is a medicine called kratom. 100% natural and helps to overcome anxiety. So why would you have this headache with medicine certifications etc, when you can just temporary overcome this issue?


Strychnine is a natural product too. So is morphine. “Natural product” means nothing and provides no assurance of either safety or efficacy.

AUGUST 21, 2018
Poisonings from kratom, sold as an herbal supplement, are rising. But no one knows how much
by Mari A. Schaefer, The Philadelphia Inquirer

An unregulated herbal product that advocates say can relieve pain and help with opioid withdrawal has been linked to at least four deaths in the Philadelphia region, but with many authorities failing to track kratom poisonings, there's no way to know if there are more deaths related to the substance.


Kratom, derived from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree that is part of the coffee family, has gained popularity in recent years. It is sold online, in gas stations and in smoke shops, and is typically brewed as a tea, chewed, smoked or ingested in capsules.

An estimated 3 million to 5 million people use kratom, according to the American Kratom Association, a Colorado-based nonprofit founded in 2014 to promote the herbal product. It has become a billion-dollar business, according to the Botanical Education Alliance, another kratom advocacy group.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced in 2016 it would reclassify kratom as a Schedule 1 drug, similar to heroin or marijuana, a step other nations have taken. But the industry groups lobbied to keep it on store shelves.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the active ingredient in kratom, mitragynine, is an addictive substance that acts on the brain's opioid receptors—and is indeed an opioid. Though touted as a stimulant (at low doses), sedative (at high doses), painkiller, and addiction therapy, kratom has no medical value, the FDA declared in February, and has been linked to at least 44 deaths nationally, though the agency admits tracking is haphazard. The kratom industry, meanwhile, disputes the FDA's science and data collection, insisting no one has died from kratom use.



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