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Medical question


Funkarelli

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Hey Guys and Girls,

So I've been a helo pilot for quite some time and have never had any medical problems. What I'm wondering is though. For the last year I really seem to be strugling with depression, not an issue like I want to go and off my self type of deal, just overall not really as happy as I want to be and find it hard to do some things. I have been putting off going and seeing someone (Psychologist/Psychiatrist) about it for fear that I might loose my medical, which in turn would mean no job since I currently am working as a Helo Pilot, and things would definitely go down hill then. But I think it's time to finally talk to someone, I'm tired of feeling the way I do.

 

So my question is, Will simply talking to a professional about it cause problems with renewing my medical? I would not accept medication, since that obviously would cause problems. I wouldn't want meds even if I wasn't flying, I'm the guy that doesn't even take asprin for a headache unless it is about to kill me.. I just simply want someone to talk to and try to figure out how I can break this feeling. Anyone currently seeing a professional? or ever had problems with your medicals? or how about getting a different job in the future because of it?

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Hey Guys and Girls,

So I've been a helo pilot for quite some time and have never had any medical problems. What I'm wondering is though. For the last year I really seem to be strugling with depression, not an issue like I want to go and off my self type of deal, just overall not really as happy as I want to be and find it hard to do some things. I have been putting off going and seeing someone (Psychologist/Psychiatrist) about it for fear that I might loose my medical, which in turn would mean no job since I currently am working as a Helo Pilot, and things would definitely go down hill then. But I think it's time to finally talk to someone, I'm tired of feeling the way I do.

 

So my question is, Will simply talking to a professional about it cause problems with renewing my medical? I would not accept medication, since that obviously would cause problems. I wouldn't want meds even if I wasn't flying, I'm the guy that doesn't even take asprin for a headache unless it is about to kill me.. I just simply want someone to talk to and try to figure out how I can break this feeling. Anyone currently seeing a professional? or ever had problems with your medicals? or how about getting a different job in the future because of it?

 

Try here. I have heard of a lot of success from this website for all sorts of medical related questions. I wish you happiness and continued flying!

www.LeftSeat.com

 

edit: If you look around, there is a specific section on depression. It was a little confusing at first but I'm sure they can help clarify. It did mention that speaking to someone at first needed to be done with some aviation guidance in order not to cause alarm and jeopardize your medical unnecessarily...the meds of course are a whole different kettle of fish...

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http://www.aviationmedicine.com/articles/i...mp;articleID=32

 

I can not validate this source.

 

"Counseling by clergy, or even your personal physician, is not reportable if there is no personal psychiatric diagnosis, no alcohol or substance abuse and no treatment with medications. Visits to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) for conditions described above are also not reportable."

 

"The FAA will allow pilots and controllers who have been diagnosed with depression and treated with medication to hold an Airman's Medical Certificate after certain conditions are met. First, they must be off medications and remain without significant depressive symptoms for at least 90 days. Ongoing counseling is allowed and encouraged. They will have to complete an psychiatric and psychological evaluation, usually performed by their treating psychiatrist and psychologist."

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My understanding of this issue is, just talking to them usually won't disqualify you. Medications will, and many of the meds you will have to be off of for several months before you can get your medical (I've heard from 3-12 months or more depending on just what the issue is). Another good site for medical information is http://aviationmedicine.com since they have a lot of good information and are availble to help consult in aviation medical information.

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One thing I would say is be careful. American society has a tendency to overdiagnose depression. What very well, could just be a case of unfulfilled desire, or poor diet which are easily treatable could get your license yanked.

 

See a psychiatrist in an anonymous setting, meaning, pay in cash (not through insurance) and do not mention your profession. Seek their professional opinion. Of course, be careful with any doctor that rushes to prescribe you something. It's a well know fact that doctors get kickbacks from big pharma for prescribing people their expensive and often useless drugs. If a doc is in the habit of doing that, his diagnosis is probably wrong.

 

Good luck! But be careful. The FAA is very conservative when it comes to these kinds of things, and even if they approve you, the process could take months. It's best to just avoid the hassle....

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Just remember that you are required to report any visits to any healthcare professional on your next application for a medical certificate. Failure to report the visit could result in losing your medical if the FAA finds out.

 

"visits to mental health professionals were reportable ONLY if it was due to alcohol/substance abuse OR resulted in a personal psychiatric diagnosis."

 

From the site. Again, an actual AME would be the best source here, you could always call one anonymously, every one I have ever met really wants to help and dreads the idea of messing up a persons' dream when they don't feel there is a real safety issue.

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Thanks all for your responses and PM's. I obviously know that meds would cause problems and I wouldn't accept any scripts for them. I'll send a call on over to AOPA and see what they have to say. I'll probably just end up dealing with it on my own since I don't even want to run the risk of loosing a medical/job, and I think Inferno has a good point about it may be just an unfulfilled desire, as I do have a fairly good idea what is causing me to feel this way and I just need to accept it and deal.

 

Thanks again for all your responses.

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One thing I would say is be careful. American society has a tendency to overdiagnose depression. What very well, could just be a case of unfulfilled desire, or poor diet which are easily treatable could get your license yanked.

 

See a psychiatrist in an anonymous setting, meaning, pay in cash (not through insurance) and do not mention your profession. Seek their professional opinion. Of course, be careful with any doctor that rushes to prescribe you something. It's a well know fact that doctors get kickbacks from big pharma for prescribing people their expensive and often useless drugs. If a doc is in the habit of doing that, his diagnosis is probably wrong.

 

Good luck! But be careful. The FAA is very conservative when it comes to these kinds of things, and even if they approve you, the process could take months. It's best to just avoid the hassle....

 

 

very good advice.

 

dp

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Funkarelli,

 

Something was bothering you enough for you to come on and post, even if it was more of a question regarding your medical and how depression is thought of by the FAA. But don't sweep it under the rug. You say you have an idea what may be causing it but it's been going on for about a year. Often times depression has an underlying cause that could be purely emotional / psychological or possibly physical. Poor sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise all can contribute. Depression can also be a symptom of thyroid problems. Do you happen get a "normal" physical once a year. A simple yearly blood test / check up can rule out a lot. If it is something like a relationship problem, financial issues or sickness in the family by all means see someone if you feel it will help. Just be specific about your problem and what you want to achieve out of the therapy. You could probably get a lot of help and completely avoid ever mentioning "the d word".

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