Childhood ADD, looking for Pilot/ATC Career

sculley

New Member
I'm currently 17 years old and off of all prescription medications. I'm no longer taking any ADD meds let alone anything else; I've taken nothing for about 2 months now.

I was about 8 years old and in 3rd grade when I was diagnosed with high-functionally ADD following some IQ exams and an EKG in addition to other typical psychological testing. I was then placed into a gifted program at my elementary school and also placed on ADD medication.

For the past 9 years, I took Adderall regularly, normally daily except during the summer; however, it was not unusual for my mother to pop me a pill during the summer for whatever reason. I took at least 20 MG a day, often 40.

Like many, I feel I was misdiagnosed. To be terribly honest, it is my opinion that my mother used it to gain control over my academics (which were never actually an issue). I was never hyperactive, I simply became bored with school because I was miles ahead of my grade level and the accompanying classwork.


Anyways, when I was 13 I started flying in flight school at a local airport. I logged about 40 hours over a year before my parents and I became aware of restrictions regarding the use of Adderall and other ADD medication and flying. My instructor was notified, and I have not flown since.

After researching a bit back then (4 years ago) I found that the answers were generally the same: find a new passion. However, recently my love for aviation has come back and I've been working alot with VATSIM (the multiplayer FS community) where I also do controlling.

Seeing I'm getting ready to look at colleges, I'd like to know what my current situation is. Now that I've been off all medications for about 3 months and I've had no issues whatsoever, will I be able to get a medical cert to fly? And do the restrictions apply for Air Traffic Control also???


Thanks,
Steve
 

ADIZFlyboy

Well-Known Member
sculley-i was actually in a similar situation that you were in. i was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, took meds (ritalin, adderal), stopped taking them when i turned 18 and started flying when i was 22. right when i was ready to take my checkride (which i had postponed several times due to work/school), I found out on this forum about ADD/ADHD and the restrictions on it for flying. If you haven't do so already, you will need to go in for a medical. Just list ADHD on the form and they with automatically defer your medical because ADD/ADHD is a "red flag" for the physician. This isn't bad as its just the FAA's way of getting your stuff in their system. Your stuff goes to the FAA office in Oklahoma City. They will mail you back asking for documentation psych tests, teacher reports, med info. If your records are recent enough, they may make a decision right away. If your testing for ADHD is somewhat dated, they may request that you get certain tests performed (as was the case for me). The tests can be costly as they had to be administered by a board psychologist (if you're in college or about to be, check with your school's psych dept as some of the testing can be done there for free or next to nothing by a board psych). After you are done with the psych testing and drug tests, the doc will send in all the forms to the FAA. From there, the FAA will make a ruling on your medical. In my case, the ADHD I had as a child went away as I got older (which is quite common) so it basically became a non-issue and I got my first-class medical. I've heard of people having mild ADD/ADHD and still getting waivers but it depends on the severity and how long you have been off the meds. You definitely have to be off the meds when you are flying because the FAA considers them a no-no. Myflightsurgeon has a great deal of knowledge on this subject and helped me out with my situation. Hope this helps and don't give up hope. It's a bit of a lengthy process but definitely worth it in the end.
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
The answer is correct. Get the medical and then get ready to be tested and to send all of your medical records to the FAA for evaluation. Chances are good you will get the medical.
 

Boris Badenov

He comes to save the day in a broken truck.
High functioning kid. Bored by school. Doesn't want to be a cubicle drone. Good thing they didn't have ADD back in the day or we'd all be taking the Greyhound and Orville and Wilbur would be known for making bicycles. I suppose you've considered the "don't report it" method of compliance?
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
High functioning kid. Bored by school. Doesn't want to be a cubicle drone. Good thing they didn't have ADD back in the day or we'd all be taking the Greyhound and Orville and Wilbur would be known for making bicycles. I suppose you've considered the "don't report it" method of compliance?
Right! A Federal conviction for fraud will get you a job withthe best companies in the country:rolleyes:
 

sculley

New Member
Right! A Federal conviction for fraud will get you a job withthe best companies in the country:rolleyes:
:laff:
Very true. I'll have to give it a shot :p.

Thanks for the replies. Will I need to get all the medical records from the different neurologists? And would it help if the doctors wrote in that they (in hindsight) believe it was a misdiagnosis?
 
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