Mental conditions

Gigemchicken90
5:54a, 6/20/11
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AG


Can someone with a history of depression or diagnosis of bipolar serve in the military?
hot_rod_9384
9:39a, 6/20/11
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AG
I know someone currently in the military with a history of this, but i don't think she was very forthright with it when she enlisted. I would think it would be a red flag
CGSC Lobotomy
10:36a, 6/20/11
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You'd need a medical waiver. Likelihood of it being approved is low.
fighterpilot
10:39a, 6/20/11
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S
My first roomdog was on Haldol. He had more loose screws than you could shake a stick at. I have NO idea how he got past ALL the processing interviews.
Ulysses90
6:37p, 6/20/11
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AG
Based on my experience on recruiting duty and having written many waiver requests for medical/moral/mental criteria I would have bet that a history of either depression or bipolar disorder would be disqualifying but according to the literal statements in the current edition of the AR 40-501 it is only current mood disorders that are disqualifying.

However, MEPS doctors will almost always equate evidence of a history of a disorder with the presumption that it is still present. If you go to MEPS make sure that you pre-screen a current psych eval the clearly and emphatically states that you do not have bi-polar or depression. Then expect the doctor to send you out for an independent psych consult.
CTR14
9:22p, 6/20/11
A
So apparently when I was like 11 My parents thought I had been depressed and took me to the doctor and I had to get prescribed anti depressants. are y'all saying this could disqualify me from joining the marines!?

[This message has been edited by CTR14 (edited 6/20/2011 9:40p).]
Naveronski
12:25a, 6/21/11
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AG
Short answer: Yes.

In today's economy, many are trying to join the military, which in turn allows them to be more selective. MEPS is looking for any reason to turn away recruits.
CGSC Lobotomy
4:14a, 6/21/11
L
quote:
However, MEPS doctors will almost always equate evidence of a history of a disorder with the presumption that it is still present. If you go to MEPS make sure that you pre-screen a current psych eval the clearly and emphatically states that you do not have bi-polar or depression. Then expect the doctor to send you out for an independent psych consult.


Also, Dr. Wong does not like being proven wrong (which often happens) by other, more qualified physicians. He's very vindictive to those who do and punitive to those Stations who are able to get him overridden.
Ulysses90
6:17a, 6/21/11
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AG
quote:
So apparently when I was like 11 My parents thought I had been depressed and took me to the doctor and I had to get prescribed anti depressants. are y'all saying this could disqualify me from joining the marines!?


It likely would be a disqualification by the MEPS doctor but if you had no history of depression after the age of 11 and the use of antidepressants was a brief episode I believe that your chances of getting a BUMED waiver are pretty good (if that is the only issue). Given that the enlistment pool is currently full of enlistees waiting to ship to boot camp the time that it takes to get your medical documents screened, a psych consult, and a BUMED waiver process might not significantly delay the time it would take to get you to boot camp.

quote:
Also, Dr. Wong does not like being proven wrong (which often happens) by other, more qualified physicians. He's very vindictive to those who do and punitive to those Stations who are able to get him overridden.



That seems to be generically true across MEPCOM. My very small sampling of MEPS doctors suggests that every one of them has a chip on his shoulder and is mainly concerned with not missing a id afternoon tee time. My cynical take on MEPS doctors is that on the whole they are a group who practices at a modest salary at a MEPS because their own past actions made paying a malpractice premium too expensive. Being that they are at a MEPS they don't actually treat any patients but make largely subjective assessments of applicants physical health with no potential liability.

It is surprising to me that no one has yet put up a website where recruiters can anonymously share information on which MEPS doctors have idiosyncrasies about certain issues in one's medical history. Any time that my MEPS LNO screened the package of an applicant who ever wheezed after the age of five that applicant would take the ride to Syracuse rather than Buffalo. The doctor at Harrisburg was the only one in the region who would keep an open mind concerning an applicant who had ever been prescribed Ritalin.
CGSC Lobotomy
8:44a, 6/21/11
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Unless things have changed since 2009, Dr. Wong is still the USAREC Surgeon General. Chicago MEPS had this evil Korean lady who was notorious for manipulating applicants into admitting things that they may not have.
CTR14
6:10p, 6/21/11
A
Well I'm trying to join as an officer. Is it different for them? And I asked my parents and I guess I never did get diagnosed. But yes it was brief and its never happened again.
Pro Sandy
9:42p, 6/21/11
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AG
As an officer, I had to go through MEPS as well. I just didn't have to ship out at the end of the day.
Ulysses90
10:37p, 6/21/11
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AG
quote:

Well I'm trying tapply to join as an officer. Is it different for them?


The physical standards are the same for induction as an officer or enlisted except as they apply to aviators and such.

quote:
And I asked my parents and I guess I never did get diagnosed. But yes it was brief and its never happened again.



Your parents' amateur diagnosis is not medical history. A clinical diagnosis by a doctor or psychiatrist is medical history that must be explained and perhaps waivered. The fact that antidepressants were prescribed would suggest to the MEPS doctor that someone with a medical degree did make a diagnosis and they will want to see the medical documents and send you for a psych consult. It should not be a big deal if it was a short duration when you were 11.
CGSC Lobotomy
4:18a, 6/22/11
L
quote:
The physical standards are the same for induction as an officer or enlisted except as they apply to aviators and such.


Actually, sir, they're not.

-Officer candidates must weigh in by the prior service standards (IOW, height and weight measurements that Soldiers in their age group would adhere to). ARMS test is not an option.

-Officer candidates must take and pass the APFT at their age group prior to processing. Enlistees do not have this requirement.

These two are big deals in terms of physical standards. Many who would otherwise qualify to enlist are not eligible for OCS due to those two I listed above.

quote:
Your parents' amateur diagnosis is not medical history. A clinical diagnosis by a doctor or psychiatrist is medical history that must be explained and perhaps waivered. The fact that antidepressants were prescribed would suggest to the MEPS doctor that someone with a medical degree did make a diagnosis and they will want to see the medical documents and send you for a psych consult. It should not be a big deal if it was a short duration when you were 11.


Certain drugs automatically require waivers, regardless of duration.

[This message has been edited by CGSC Lobotomy (edited 6/22/2011 4:21a).]
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