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Reccomendations Before Seeing a Psych

Old 05-12-2024, 04:38 PM
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Question Reccomendations Before Seeing a Psych

I just recently received my PPL and I am planning to eventually get into a career in the airlines. For some time I have suspected I have obsessive complulsive disorder leading me to wanting to see a psychiatrist to address my issues. I just wanted to see if anyone has reccomendations before I just schedule a doctor's visit and potentially receive a diagnosis and get my medical taken away.

Should I consult my AME and ask for a refferal and consulation through the FAA processes or use AOPA PPS for guidance? These are the two options I have thought of but I'm welcome to hearing anything else. I want to know if there is anything I should get in order or understand before I see a doctor.
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Old 05-12-2024, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by directtolav View Post
I just recently received my PPL and I am planning to eventually get into a career in the airlines. For some time I have suspected I have obsessive complulsive disorder leading me to wanting to see a psychiatrist to address my issues. I just wanted to see if anyone has reccomendations before I just schedule a doctor's visit and potentially receive a diagnosis and get my medical taken away.

Should I consult my AME and ask for a refferal and consulation through the FAA processes or use AOPA PPS for guidance? These are the two options I have thought of but I'm welcome to hearing anything else. I want to know if there is anything I should get in order or understand before I see a doctor.
I would definitely get this figured out before you proceed with anymore aviation training. Definitely do your homework before you mention this to an AME or seeing a psychiatrist. Your health is number one priority, at the same time pursuing something like this can really open up a huge can or worms. Maybe consult AMAS anonymously and see what they have to say. Keep the faith.
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Old 05-12-2024, 05:33 PM
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Tough situation. OCD hopefully isn't going to pose an immediate threat to anyone's health and safety... if that's the case you can take some time, do some self-study and try to learn about more it if you haven't already. If you think you understand your issue, then research treatment options. There might be cognitive therapy or lifestyle changes which can help.

I'm not sure, I know nothing about OCD other than what the acronym stands for. But if it's something that you can address on your own satisfactorily that will simplify your aviation medical certification. I assume that untreated clinical OCD would be a no-go with the FAA, but am not sure.

Also you need to find out what DSM-V condition actually correlates to "OCD"... that's what you'll need to research wrt to FAA certification.

With that said, all good pilots are probably a little bit "OCD"... helps us to live longer.
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Old 05-12-2024, 07:39 PM
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OCD traits does not mean you have OCD. Might just be mannerism or a fondness for patterns. Iíd research it and just see if you need to adjust your behaviors to help you feel better about whatever is concerning you.
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Old 05-13-2024, 09:16 AM
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There is a fine, and often no-so-fine line between a legitimate desire to protect one's medical certification status, and a realistic need to protect one's health. OCD is portrayed in movies and on television as a comical condition, when in fact it often is not. It is common, affecting millions. It has no cure, but does have treatments. It is often a part of other issues, frequently depression, and bipolar disorder(s). OCD may be an obstacle, but also so may be associated issues; from your FAA medical perspective, both the bipolar, and depressive diagnoses may warrant a FAA response. Further, treatment for OCD may include medication, which may have an additional impact.

Using care with your FAA medical is always a wise consideration. Sources such as the AOPA professional pilot program, or the Aviation Medicine Advisory Service (AMAS) cannot diagnose you, and consequently can only provide general information in lieu of guidance, but they also cannot know of a potenital medical condition and advise you to steer clear of treatment to hide or conceal the condition, to protect the FAA medical certificate. If you have a legitimate condition, then it needs treatment, and that may, or may not impact your FAA medical status.

There are qualities in many of us, if not most of us, that at first blush might seem "OCD," as it's a popular buzzword and is a broad brush. Many of us are perfectionists to some degree, and a common expression is "I'm a little OCD," often inferring that one is detail oriented or obsessed with "getting it right." That can be a good trait in aviation: details matter, often in a big way. It can also be a big threat to safety, depending on whether it's actually being detail-oriented, or obsessive.

The FAA, as a rule, doesn't focus on medications taken, but on the condition that requires them; likewise, there may be multiple considerations with OCD and any diagnosis thereof, which determine how this impacts you as a patient, and as an airman. The fact that you think you might need treatment validates further investigation, for you own sake.

As a very general guideline, if you're aware of obsessive, or compulsive behaviors or urges, which many people have, ask yourself is once aware, you can control them. If thoughts or actions are affecting your quality of life, it's time to seek treatment. The complications can range from sleep issues to suicidal thoughts, or beyond, and can impact relationships with others as well as your own private life. They may be part of other complications, which definitely should be treated (and may impact FAA medical status, as well).

A safer approach before you go to your AME, is to start with an external source (which you've done, here), such as AOPA's services, or AMAS. If you find that your signs or symptoms are affecting the way you live, sleep, eat, and your relations with others in a negative way or that is decreasing your quality of life, and if you find that you are experiencing urges or compulsions that you cannot control, then you need to seek assistance, regardless of whether it affects your FAA medical status. Place yourself and your health first.
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Old 05-13-2024, 02:22 PM
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Thanks John, I really appreciate your full response and understanding. My issue is more than simple stuff you might see on TV, like you said. Also, it has been a noticeable issue for the past 10 months or so and really does impact quality of life.

From what I got from your response and others is to contact AOPA first and go from there. Obviously AOPA or AMAS cannot fix my problems but can provide some guidance.
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Old 05-13-2024, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by directtolav View Post
Thanks John, I really appreciate your full response and understanding. My issue is more than simple stuff you might see on TV, like you said. Also, it has been a noticeable issue for the past 10 months or so and really does impact quality of life.

From what I got from your response and others is to contact AOPA first and go from there. Obviously AOPA or AMAS cannot fix my problems but can provide some guidance.
Since itís ok to say/yellow card bot now. Bot or not?
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Old 05-13-2024, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by METO Guido View Post
Since itís ok to say/yellow card bot now. Bot or not?
not a bot.
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Old 05-14-2024, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by directtolav View Post
not a bot.
Well then, what youíre worried about didnít stop Howard Hughes. Howard Robard Hughes Jr. (December 24, 1905 Ė April 5, 1976) was an American aerospace engineer, business magnate, film producer, investor, philanthropist, and pilot. He was best known during his lifetime as one of the richest and most influential people in the world.

Go chase your dreams.
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Old 05-14-2024, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
Tough situation. OCD hopefully isn't going to pose an immediate threat to anyone's health and safety... if that's the case you can take some time, do some self-study and try to learn about more it if you haven't already. If you think you understand your issue, then research treatment options. There might be cognitive therapy or lifestyle changes which can help.

I'm not sure, I know nothing about OCD other than what the acronym stands for. But if it's something that you can address on your own satisfactorily that will simplify your aviation medical certification. I assume that untreated clinical OCD would be a no-go with the FAA, but am not sure.

Also you need to find out what DSM-V condition actually correlates to "OCD"... that's what you'll need to research wrt to FAA certification.

With that said, all good pilots are probably a little bit "OCD"... helps us to live longer.
The difference between "personality" and "personality disorder" is the extent to which it actually interferes with daily function. If it significantly affects daily function it is by definition a disorder and needs to be treated.

The problem is that there is a whole industry out there that is incentivized by their own economic interests in treating personalities as disorders, and for many of those people SSRIs are viewed as being in the same category as daily vitamins,. And even more effective (and less FAA concerning) modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy require a diagnosis of "disorder" for the insurance company to cover the cost of treatment. And that is doubly problematic because as was learned with the ADD "epidemic" and really through out medicine, it becomes fairly common for people to "become" their diagnosis once an authority figure "awards" them one, no matter if it is an exaggeration or an outright error, and the FAA pretty much defaults to the assumption that the diagnosis once given is correct.
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