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Pilots Suffering In Silence.... Interesting Topic

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I came across an article not too long ago about commercial pilots, whether fixed wing or rotory who may have depression or anxiety, and refrain from telling their doctors because they know if they go on medication to help them have a better quality of life , they would lose their medicals, and therefore not able to work a job they love and provide for their families. So as a result they "suffer in silence". I thought this would be an interesting topic, so lets hear everyone's feedback and opinions on this, shall we.

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Being medicated (depending on what's being treated) does not, in and of it's self, nix your clearance to fly. I would assume that there ware some allowances for treatment of something as common to the general population as depression/anxiety. Side effects notwithstanding, what's a greater risk?...A guy at the controls without the will to carry on or a one who's comfortable and confident thanks to treatment?


From http://www.aviationdoc.com/articles/Aviation%20Medical%20Info.pdf


"The topic of medication often comes up. Medications are not permitted when they may
have side effects or therapeutic effects which impair a pilot's ability to operate the
aircraft. An example would be narcotic pain-killers. Secondly, certain medications may
not be impairing in and of themselves, but their use implies an underlying illness which
would not permit the safe piloting of an aircraft. An example would be chemotherapy
agents for the treatment of active cancer."


I no nothing about anti-depressants and side effects...if they don't hurt your ability to fly, no need to hide in the shadows. Get treated, keep flying. I'd argue that keeping flying has it's own anti-depressant qualities.

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Personaly, I find a good slug of single malt, with a hint of glacier fed spring water, sipped from a well worn cowboy boot has medicated me enough through many a depressing night.

Sorry guys, could not pass a golden opportunity to plagerize from a well worn post!

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This article may be of some interest:




Last fall, I had severe headaches for awhile and after a brain scan and countless lab tests, my family doctor prescribed Lyrica to see if it would help. I called my CAME and she told me if I took it my license would be automatically suspended for at least 60 days, even if it's not technically an SSRI, it does have a reputation for mood alteration. So I didn't take it and suffered (I was on days off). After some osteopathy and acupuncture, the pain subsided. My medical was up for renewal and based on all the negative lab tests and the scan, and the fact that the pain had gone away, my CAME renewed my medical without restriction.


My family doc called me back around Christmas. He'd just come back from a junket on a pharmaceutical company's dime and he'd had a seminar on the treatment of certain conditions with their latest and greatest miracle drug. One of the conditions discussed reminded him of what I'd gone through. Turns out I had Occipital neuralgia. All of the symptoms fit me to a tee. I'm now waiting to consult with a neurosurgeon to evaluate the risks of it happening to me again. In the meantime, my osteopath has given me a series of neck and shoulder exercises to do before and after any longlining. If you longline much and wear a (heavy) helmet, remember that term...

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Depression is like masterbation! If you say you've never had it or done it you're a liar.


Its a serious topic and can happen to the strongest person. If you are feeling these feelings talk to a therapist. Not all depression needs drugs just some guidance. Good luck I've been there.


Awaiting all the harden the f@ck up comments!

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Like everything else involving TC, the CAME winds up having a lot of judgement, in addition to the 'rules' as published as to what is acceptable or not.


Having had my share of medical issues in the past (amputation, PTSD, broken bones, arthritis, assorted tropical diseases, and so on) I was made keenly aware that everything you say to a medical 'professional' can impact your ability to feed your family. I was fortunate way back then to be employed with very good benefits. As a contractor things would have been much worse.


The reality is that angst over confiding to the doctors is a real concern for many professionals. I would also advise talking to a professional if there is any concern, but then everyone else in the support system has to realize how difficult that decision may be. Another good case for having good STD, LTD, EI, etc benefits to allow people to have confidence they aren't risking destitution.

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