I'm in the military. Can I use ADD medication?
April 16, 2010 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I would like to try ADD medication. I'm in the National Guard. What ramifications would this have for my Guard career?

For reasons not relevant to this discussion, I am interested in at least trying medication for ADD. The complication is that I am a "traditional" (i.e., one-weekend-a-month) member of the Air National Guard (in a non-combat position) and thus subject to random drug tests.

I would describe myself as ADD, but not ADHD. I think those who know me would describe me as calm, grounded, etc.

There is some material out there, including on this website, that addresses the use of ADD/ADHD medications by military recruits, but this is a bit different, as I am already a member.

Any guidance gratefully appreciated. If you don't want to post here, I set up a throwaway e-mail address at lieutenant_crackhead@yahoo.com
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
 
I hope that e-mail address is completely unrelated to the question at hand. I'm all for poking fun at myself, but the intimation that people who take medication for ADHD are crackheads is really offensive.

In addition, there is no ADD. It's all ADHD, even if you're not hyperactive.

I think you would need to get a medical waiver. Have you tried asking on the National Guard forums?
posted by elsietheeel at 6:01 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


There seems to be a thread on this subject here, with some additional info (thanks to Google's cache) here.
posted by jquinby at 6:06 PM on April 16, 2010


Elsie --

Have you tried asking on the National Guard forums?

No, but that's a great suggestion; I will do just that.

I'm all for poking fun at myself

With all due respect, that does not come across in your post. In context, I am quite clearly parodying the misperception that taking ADHD meds makes you a crackhead.
posted by Lieutenant Crackhead at 7:17 PM on April 16, 2010


jquinby -

Excellent links! Thank you!
posted by Lieutenant Crackhead at 7:17 PM on April 16, 2010


Are you saying you want to try the medication without a prescription or supervision? Or are you thinking the Guard would have a problem with it even if prescribed?
posted by liketitanic at 8:24 PM on April 16, 2010


Also - do you want to take it 'just to see what it's like', or because you think that your ADHD is actually affecting your life in a detrimental way? Or both?
posted by spinifex23 at 10:07 PM on April 16, 2010


Sorry, but the reasons are relevant to this discussion. If you're taking medication for reasons other than "A doctor has told me that I need to take this," then you're a recreational drug user, and if it's one of the things that the Guard tells you you're not supposed to take, then you're breaking the rules.

If you believe that you need it, then go to a doctor and get a note that says you need to take it. Put that note in your file, and if you get popped in a urinalysis, you will have proof that you're legally taking medication under the supervision of a trained medical professional and not just looking to get high.
posted by Etrigan at 6:10 AM on April 17, 2010


Wow, this subject makes people touchy. However, on my part, I can see I could have been more clear. I am not talking about illicitly scoring dexedrine and getting high. I am talking about going to a civilian doctor and getting a prescription following a diagnosis. I understand the concerns about getting high and so forth, having seen the effects in others up close. In regards to my own use, however, I assure you the opposite is true: I have avoided medication for years because I really do NOT want to do this. I have, however, come to the conclusion that my ADD is significantly hampering my ability to succeed in life to the degree I know I am capable of.

I see how my initial question could have been misinterpreted. I assure you, I am talking about the ramifications of legal, justified, prescribed ADD medication use. (And not necessarily stimulants like dex. or adderall; I would be open to Strattera, Concerta etc.)
posted by Lieutenant Crackhead at 12:54 PM on April 17, 2010


Then you'll be fine. I advise you to present a copy of your prescription to your supervisor as soon as you get it -- before you take a single pill, before you even fill the prescription if at all possible -- so it's in your file in case you get randomly selected for a test an hour after you swallow the first one.

I can't speak for your unit, but the military as an institution is not looking to "GOTCHA!" people who need medication. In these days of (slowly) increasing acceptance for PTSD diagnoses and the attendant solutions, you absolutely should not be adversely affected for trying to better yourself in legitimate, legal, commonly accepted ways.
posted by Etrigan at 5:43 AM on April 19, 2010


Sorry, but the reasons are relevant to this discussion. If you're taking medication for reasons other than "A doctor has told me that I need to take this," then you're a recreational drug user, and if it's one of the things that the Guard tells you you're not supposed to take, then you're breaking the rules.

I pretty much figured out I had ADD on my own, and I went to see a psychiatrist about it requesting to try Adderall. I knew it would work, and it did. Just because you know you're in need of medication does not mean there is a problem with it, and there is nothing wrong with asking a psychiatrist about it.

However, as far as I know the military will not admit those who have been diagnosed with ADD, but I understand this is not an official policy regarding ADD, per se, and more to do with mental fitness and medication. I'm not sure as to the current policy, and I'm also not sure how you might ask someone confidentially in the military, but you might want to do so before you decide on a course of medication with your doctor.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:22 AM on August 16, 2010


However, as far as I know the military will not admit those who have been diagnosed with ADD...

For one, this isn't the case. For something as nebulous as ADD, I doubt it's even on the list of disqualifiers, and it's certainly not on the list of non-waivable disqualifiers. (I'm not looking to argue over whether ADD exists, just saying that it's a lot harder to draw a line in the sand between "You have ADD" and "You do not have ADD" than between, say, "You are pregnant" and "You are not pregnant.")

For another, the OP is already in the military. You'd be astounded at the gap between the "You can't enlist" list and the "You can't stay in" list. Once you're in, the military has invested a certain amount of time, money and effort into you, and they won't throw that over without a good reason.
posted by Etrigan at 5:18 AM on August 17, 2010


« Older Need some basic WordPress info, but ""WordPress"...   |   Do I have to pay taxes on money my parents give me... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.