Psych misdiagnosis and the FAA

Discussion in 'Medical Topics' started by wbhsdvbosdubashbqapi68683, Oct 6, 2021.

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can I still pass faa medical exam if I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder?

  1. yes

  2. no

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Hey! I'm currently finishing an aviation business degree and im interested in pursuing a PPL in about 2-3 years. I had a depressive episodes about a year ago and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, halfway through last year my doctor started prescribing different SSRIs and "antipsychotics" even though I felt like I never needed them. I would complain of depression and anxiety and the doctors would mention other disorders such as bipolar and psychotic disorders, and I think one of them misdiagnosed me with bipolar (but he even said I'm not sure if you have bipolar but that's what I'm treating it as). I now have been completely off medication for about 6 months and have no symptoms of bipolar or depression. I'm worried this might affect my chances of passing a medical exam for the FAA in the future. The symptoms are completely gone and I believe it is not recurrent, it was just the various and huge amount of medications my doctor was trying on me. What can I do about this? I heard I can get a waiver for the depression part, but what about the bipolar misdiagnosis? how do I prove I'm not bipolar and that it was all just a misdiagnosis?
     
  2. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    You'll need to get the diagnosis overturned. That will require testing and $$, as well as time and patience. Your first step will be to find a HIMS AME that can walk you through the process.
     
  3. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    $$$$.
     
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  4. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When a doc changes his opinion on something so serious, it only discredits him more in the eyes of the AMCD.

    He needs it superseded by a specialist known to the AMCD. The nature of bipolar disease is such that the person with such an illness really has little insight into their actual state...”no bueno” for an airman.
    But read on.

    I have to tell the OP that the state of psychiatry is so imprecise that as a abundance of caution, anyone with that diagnosis from a BOARD certified Psychiatrist is down for ten years. Sometimes you have to watch a person for that long to get the diagnosis right. This may not be the case if the bipolar assertion is from a Nurse Practitioner, or a PCP.

    We rely on TEN years of no meds no events and a well documented successful life test, which would make such a diagnosis impossible to be true. In 23 years as an AME I have only succeeded ONCE in such a reversal and that guy has a arduous second class. 4 rounds of the FAA “P&P evaluation” over five years, and a six month at a time SI in which someone qualified has to see him every three months.

    So I can’t say there is much to offer you. You feel fine now but Manic Depressive disease in your diagnosis codes is like Kryptonite to the airman....and the notion of “voting” on this is almost hilarious....and the handle you chose...well it sufficiently unusual as to provoke thought....
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2021
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  5. Hello bbchien, Thanks for your answer. The doctors were throwing diagnoses left and right, so Bipolar is probably not the only code I should be worried about (again, the psychiatrist himself said I'm not sure about the diagnosis, it's just what I'm treating you as). I had suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety- not that that's any better- but nothing else. My family, friends, and others around me can all attest that I've never behaved like I was in a manic state.

    However, sir/maam, I've worked way too hard to stop now because a doctor decided to throw a diagnosis at me. I didn't work my bu*t off to have a depressive episode throw it all away. I'm sorry you don't think there isn't much to offer me, you could've just told me to contact a HIMS AME.

    That being said, I thought the voting part would be useful for people who like to get straight to the point (like the person above that replied with "$$$$"), I'm glad you thought it was hilarious.
     
  6. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    He is a HIMS AME. One of the best actually. You should consider hiring him.
     
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  7. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I’m not seeing how a bipolar diagnosis is any worse than any other possible diagnostic cause of suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety. Those are problematic without any other diagnosis.
     
  8. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I was thinking the same thing but I don’t know anything about it. I’m smart enough to keep my mouth shut when I’m sad or having a bad day. No labels for me. Well nothing disqualifying for a medical. Thankfully a*****e is not a grounding diagnosis.
     
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  9. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    The $$$$ wasn’t being funny, other than pointing out that there weren’t enough dollar signs in the previous post. You’re looking at a price of at least $10k or more for the FAA to be satisfied and after all that work, it will probably fail.

    an FAA medical isn’t a democracy, it isn’t a court of law. If there is a diagnosis, you are presumed to have it unless there is convincing evidence to the contrary and with psychiatrists guessing at things, evidence is weak.

    I admire stubbornness in sticking to what you want, but you should approach it with a dose of reality too. One of the best AMEs in the US just told you your odds are very bad. Take the free advice and be grateful.
     
  10. Thanks for your reply. The only thing dr. Bruce did was he assumed I dont have the means to support it financially, confirmed my bipolar diagnosis, then mocked other parts of my post. I'm not interested in free advice, I'm interested in effective and constructive advice that gets me somewhere. As for the realistic approach you're suggesting, I understand where you're coming from, but aviation wouldn't even be a thing if everyone was always realistic.
     
  11. I was "smart enough" to seek help when I needed it.
     
  12. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You came here looking for advice, you got it. Dr. Bruce is the resident expert in this stuff, if he says you are in for a hard row on this, you are in for a hard row. He wasn't mocking you, he was telling you like it is. There is no voting on this matter, voting is meaningless. Your handle is.... different...., he pointed that out too, he is thinking as a clinician, if you present to a doctor doing stuff like that, they will wonder.

    I did not see anything in Dr Bruce's post that remotely implied he thought you didn't have the financial means for this, I don't know how you draw that conclusion from his post here.

    I'm sorry your dream of being a pilot is not going well. By your description, you have many tough, if not impossible roadblocks to getting a medical. Those are: bipolar diagnosis, depression, suicide ideation and anxiety. Plus you have been on or are on prohibited meds.

    You need to face that reality, act appropriately and understand that you may never be able to get an FAA medical.

    If you decide to pursue a medical, you need to stop being argumentative, find an expert who understands what the FAA needs, and follow their instructions with out whining about it.

    I hope you find happiness somewhere.
     
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  13. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That’s cool. We all make choices.

    some are not cut out to do aviation. It’s not a bad situation. There are many very awesome careers I’m not able to do. Just find your place. Most likely not here with your psych history.
     
  14. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Like others, I don’t think Dr. Bruce was in anyway condescending. He is very much “Joe Friday” on aeromedical topics, the facts and just the facts.

    It is hard to hear the facts that you don’t want to hear or we’re not expecting to hear. So maybe you are reacting poorly to hearing the facts.

    And you should be aware that Dr. Bruce is one of **the best** expert Senior HIMS AMEs for a history such as yours. He is one of the four doctors that creates and then championed into adoption the protocol that permits folks with anxiety and depressive disorders a fighting chance to obtain a medical.

    Dismissing him and showing him disrespect isn’t doing yourself any favors toward one day holding a medical if your own.
     
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  15. Vincent Becker

    Vincent Becker Filing Flight Plan

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    It's astounding to me that in an industry/hobby that requires such strict adherence to the rules and guidelines, someone actively pushes back when they get an answer they don't like.

    Gibberishusername - you probably won't listen to this, but my free advice is to listen to Bruce. He's an expert in these things and you not being interested in his "free advice" will push you further down the road of never stepping foot into a cockpit as PIC.
     
  16. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Procedurally, I advise you not to do a formal medical. Work with a HIMS AME in a consult arrangement and determine if you can meet the requirements the FAA will want before doing the medical.

    This will preserve sport pilot for you. The aircraft are limited, but you can still fly them across the country and it’s even a bit of an adventure. If you take the medical, right now you will be denied and grounded. Know you’ll pass before you apply.
     
  17. Thanks for your answer. Are you aware of any HIMS AMEs around Florida? I'm not sure why the replies think I was trying to disrespect/disregard dr. Bruce, I simply told him I wasn't giving up, when all he told me was there wasn't much to offer me. Is it still possible to hire him even if he thinks he can't help me?

    The sport pilot idea was my second option, but I wanted to at least try first. I'll be sure to take your advice and plan accordingly. Thanks.
     
  18. SoCal 182 Driver

    SoCal 182 Driver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You do realize that Bruce Chien is one of the premier docs in the country for "difficult" medical certifications, don't you? If you didn't know, now you do, so perhaps you can show some respect and appreciation for the input he's giving you.
     
  19. Thanks for your reply. My reply to his remained respectful. I was made aware of his expertise by others in the replies, and I took their advice and contacted Aeromedicaldoc.com office (which I suppose he's a part of) in order to learn more about how to proceed. So trust me, I do appreciate his input!
     
  20. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  21. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    Doc Bruce isn’t ‘part’ of aeromedicaldic.com, he is aeromedicaldoc.com.

    You could reach out to Dr Fowler @lbfjrmd in P-Cola for advice as well.
     
  22. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not mocking. FAA doesn’t care about a Poll. They care about policy. The poll could be 100% what you want to hear but it matters NOT.

    You will find that what I wrote privately is the truth. There is no benefit in sugar coating. The insinuation or the diagnosis of bipolar it you is krypton to an aviator.

    “all good now” needs converted to “all good for 10 years, no med, no incidents, well documented successful life test, is what is required. That’s just how this is.
     
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  23. hello dr. bruce, so you're saying if I try in 10 years, it wouldn't be as hard to get it?
     
  24. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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  25. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ten years of documented effort to satisfy the FAA. Not a ten year unsupervised waiting period.

    at least that’s my understanding. I think you should move the conversation to docs website.
     
  26. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    OP, if you want to fly it sounds like the best course (actually only) of action is to go sport pilot, there are plenty of fun planes to fly. Enjoy flying for ten years, keep your life in order, and re-visit the medical in that time frame.
     
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  27. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    May or may not be the case for OP's situation, but I have to really wonder how we got to a place in society where it is verboten for a doctor to admit they messed up a diagnosis. Yes, I get it, maybe would be admitting that maybe they didn't do something 100% correct to get the diagnosis right in the first place, but that seems like a far lesser problem than potentially significantly altering someone's life, and possibly health, due to a misdiagnosis.

    If an engineer realized several years after building a bridge that they messed up in the design, they would have a professional, and typically legal, obligation to come forward and reveal the error, so it could be rectified before someone got hurt. I don't get why the same ethical and legal standard doesn't apply to doctors.
     
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  28. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It's bad enough when the doctor makes a negative diagnosis and the FAA is incapable of reading. It took a lot of headstanding (and an AME who finally called Joklahoma City and called their supposed diagnosis bulls---).
     
  29. I tried, haven't really received anything back since they probably receive a lot of these.
     
  30. Thanks for your reply. I think that plan is my only option.
     
  31. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Be patient. Dr. Bruce is a one-man show; no receptionist, no secretary, no nurse, etc. And he works with a great many airmen. He retired from his real medical career some years back and now does nothing but AME work to help airmen with difficult cases.
     
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  32. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And don’t forget he also makes the periodic trip to Capital Hill to be our advocate with the Hill critters are attempting to spikey shoe stomp on us pilots.
     
  33. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ten years of:

    No events
    No meds
    No recurrence
    ....And an amply documented “successful life test” makes bipolar an impossible to sustain diagnosis.
     
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  34. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    You said you’d want to get your PPL in a few years after your aviation business degree. If you’re not trying to fly for a living, get a Sport Pilot certificate as @Bill mentioned above. You can then fly airplanes in the Light Sport Aircraft category. Check em out, they’re pretty cool.

    Balloons and gliders are cool too, and you don’t need a medical for those either.

    That should keep you busy for the next 10 years!!
     
  35. pilot445

    pilot445 Pre-Flight

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    Not everyone is down for 10 years. A well publicized case of a Delta pilot who got her bipolar diagnosis overturned.
     

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  36. pilot445

    pilot445 Pre-Flight

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    I should also add that this company doctor was a board certified psychiatrist.
     
  37. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    That's not really the same thing. There was no reason to refer her to a psychiatrist except as retaliation against her as a whistleblower.

    Also, the linked article merely states the dept of labor ruled it was discrimination. It says nothing about what her FAA medical status was.
     
  38. Tools

    Tools Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Her case had nothing to do with the FAA. It was all contractual.

    Once she won that battle, she filed the AIR 21 case, again, not really associated at all with the FAA. Except that the head of the FAA was involved in that AIR 21 case at the time of his appointment, didn’t mention it, and no one really cared.

    However, a similar process can be done with the FAA. It requires a lawyer in concert with a medical team, then wait for the FAA ruling. If you don’t agree and want to appeal that, it’s then off to the NTSB. Which has been done successfully. Just not very often as it’s time consuming and expensive.
     
  39. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Tools got this one right.