Depression and Medical

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by Anonymouse, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Anonymouse

    Anonymouse Guest

    Hey all -
    So I've been thinking for a long while about this. I think I may be diagnosable with some degree of depression. I know that doesn't usually fly with the FAA folks, and I don't want them to come after me for lying on ExpressMed (When I did my last medical several years ago, I did answer honestly, but a lot has happened since then). I also haven't flown recently, in the last few months, due to that as well as weather.
    I haven't been to any type of counseling or psychologist yet, but I am debating doing so. I just don't feel right, nothing really seems exciting anymore, even flying, which was is the best part of my life. It's not that I doubt my ability as a pilot, I am competent and level-headed, but I worry that if I see someone and get put on meds, I will become ineligible for flying. I also don't know exactly how that works and whether or not it will ever allow me to fly again.
    Should I just ground myself while I seek treatment? Will simply seeing a psychologist put me at risk of losing my ability to fly in the future?
     
  2. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The mantra is do what you have to do to be well, and then worry about certification.....
     
  3. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe go see someone unofficially, not using your name, pay cash, that way you have nothing to worry about, and just see where it goes and make your mind up from there.

    Not sure if you’re religious, but some folks have found talking to their priest helpful.

    Aside from that my only recommend would be eat right, good meat, fruit and veg, lay off booze etc and exercise more, that seems to help lots of folks.


    Ether way, I’d self ground till you get a handle on this, be it in a official databased method, or more low key, just take care of your head dude :)
     
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  4. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don't mean to sound flippant, but perhaps you should stop watching the news. (I admit I don't know if this applies to you). I had some friends with stories like yours, and that is what they recommended. I actually tried it for a while, and I have to admit, my overall outlook improved and I found other things I actually enjoyed doing. But being the news junkie I am, I fell off the wagon, and I can tell you, it is depressing. And it's not like we can fix anything by hearing about it all the time.
     
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  5. lbfjrmd

    lbfjrmd Pre-takeoff checklist

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    another: don't let the flying tail wag the dog.
     
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  6. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    What kind of flying do you do? Sport Pilot is a lot less stringent than ATP as far as medical requirements go.
     
  7. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Another... health first, fly later.
     
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  8. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you are not behind the curve on this, but being proactive, and feel like making some effort before trying formally, this book has been recommended reading for at least a couple of decades in earlier versions:

    https://smile.amazon.com/David-D-Bu...4&sr=8-4&keywords=feeling+good+by+david+burns

    But, if you have any doubts, get yourself taken care of properly. Or even seek counseling for an external opinion if it makes sense to start with reading and counseling before moving to other options.
     
  9. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Have you tried physical exercise?
     
  10. Lantraxco

    Lantraxco Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It's a catch-22, you may need help but seeking help may get you a diagnosis of depression which will follow you. Refuse any attempt to prescribe SSRI's if you do see a medical professional. I have heard that there are some effective counseling and group therapies, but I have no personal experience with either. If you live in a Northern clime SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a thing and can easily be treated by daily exposure to specific wavelengths of light.
     
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  11. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Take care of yourself first. Afterwards there’s always LSA, ultralights, and gliders. None require a medical.
     
  12. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    As others have said, get healthy first then worry about the flying. When that time comes, though, you might be able to go Basic Med and avoid some of the FAA hassle. https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/basic_med/

    When did your last medical expire? If it was after July 2006, you can go Basic Med and not have to file any medical form with the FAA.

    WARNING - There are psych conditions which will require you to get a special issuance class 3 before you can go Basic Med. Those are:

    A mental health disorder, limited to an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of—
    • A personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts;
    • A psychosis, defined as a case in which an individual —
      • Has manifested delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of psychosis; or
      • May reasonably be expected to manifest delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of psychosis;
    • A bipolar disorder; or
    • A substance dependence within the previous 2 years, as defined in §67.307(a)(4) of 14 Code of Federal Regulations

    From what you have described it doesn't sound like any of those items apply to you, so if your last medical is recent enough Basic Med might be an option.

    I know someone from our church who was experiencing symptoms similar to what you describe several years ago. He began using St. Johns Wort and found it to be very effective. Some people swear by it, but it doesn't work for everyone. Nevertheless, it's available over the counter and might be worth trying before heading down the psychiatrist + prescription path.

    DISCLAIMER - I am not a physician nor do I play one on TV. I didn't even stay at Holiday Inn Express last night. None of what I have written should be taken as medical advice. There are two highly qualified AMEs on this forum ( @lbfjrmd and @bbchien ) who can chime in and you would do well to heed whatever advice they offer.
     
  13. G-force

    G-force Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would first go get a physical from your local doc and have a blood panel run. I may be something as simple as low iron or vitamin D (it is winter after all). Has your work and/or sleep schedule changed in the last few months? Increased stress and lack of sleep can manifest in just feeling "blah."
     
  14. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How about talking to a counselor first and a general check-up for any basic medical issues?

    There are several ways to deal with these diagnoses that are fine with the FAA. After you are well, do an AME consult http://tinyurl.com/ame-consult and, if it is complicated, work with one of the expert AMEs here.
     
  15. Lucas12

    Lucas12 Filing Flight Plan

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    I posted about wanting to get back into flying but having gotten a one time prescription for lorazepam and propranolol last year to be taken to help cope with dealing with the stress of my fathers death and the negotiations around it. Way back in the early 90s I was on Prozac for 2 years for depression. This was back when SSRIs were the big new thing and almost hard to avoid. I got my first medical after that and it took some extra time but didn’t seem to be that big a deal. That said, based on what I have read here I am left wondering if this time there is going to be a request for some kind of ludicrous psych evaluation costing thousands just so I can putt putt around on a sunny Sunday.

    I wonder how much science is behind what seems like a cultural horror of “mental illness” as opposed to just knee jerk prejudice. I wonder how many pilots are flying around dealing with mild mental health issues on their own or maybe even drinking a little heavily because they are terrified of losing their medical.

    If I were you I would certainly seek help but frankly I find it hard not to encourage you to do so in a way that leaves no paper trail.

    Sorry for the rant but it seems self evident to me that the percentage of people prescribed SSRIs who have personality disorders or psychosis is vanishingly small. I can’t post links but I just googled “SSRI use in the United States” and I read that by 2014 of people older than 12 one out of 8 are using anti depressants.
     
  16. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    I agree with heal first...buuuuuuut, go in educated. There are many ways to skin a cat and a general practitioner may prescribe things and make a diagnosis unknowingly that ends your flying ability vs a path that may me more flexible to easily get back in the air.

    I would start with a consult with an AME on how to best approach your situation and navigate the FAA requirements. It would suck for a random Doc to make an incorrect diagnosis or give you a prescription that not only does not treat you problem but also grounds you in a heap of legal hoops with the FAA.