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ADHD, ADD, and why we can't get in rants......

shadesofgreen

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mariomike said:
As always, best to contact Recruiting.

In the meantime, you may find this four page topic of interest.

ADHD, ADD, and why we can't get in rants...... 
http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/68596.0

Thanks for the reply, I guess I will contact them once I get the new evaluation and see. I hope thinks work out well for me.
As for that thread, it is not really of interest to me as I do not actually have ADHD but thanks anyways.
 

mariomike

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shadesofgreen said:
Thanks for the reply, I guess I will contact them once I get the new evaluation and see. I hope thinks work out well for me.
As for that thread, it is not really of interest to me as I do not actually have ADHD but thanks anyways.

OK Good luck.

I remember you from this topic.

ADHD
http://milnet.ca/forums/threads/113429/post-1279465.html#msg1279465
 

Loachman

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/armed-forces-applicant-cites-discrimination-over-anxiety-diagnosis-1.2949644

Armed Forces applicant cites discrimination over anxiety diagnosis

Brandon Cooper, a young Newfoundlander who wants to follow a family tradition of military service, says the Canadian Armed Forces have discriminated against him because his application was rejected over an anxiety diagnosis.

“I just want to do some time for my country, give it some service,” Cooper, 17, told CBC News.

'I don't think that people should have to hide the fact that they have a mental illness'- Brandon Cooper

Cooper, who lives in Mount Pearl, comes from a family whose members have served during the Second World War as well as in recent missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He said it was hard to believes that that a diagnosis of general anxiety disorder (GAD) made a couple of years ago was going to keep him from continuing that line of service.

While recently completing his military application, Cooper said he passed his physical and aptitude tests with ease. However, while filling out the medical section, Cooper said he was truthful when he answered yes for anxiety.

“So I checked off [that] I have general anxiety, and then probably two months after that I got a letter in the mail that said I was denied," he said during an interview.

"The fact that I was turned down immediately because of anxiety brings up a big deal to me, because if I wasn't to check off that box, then would I be in the Armed Forces right now," Cooper said.

Panic attack led to diagnosis

Now getting ready to graduate in June — and thinking about what his future holds — Cooper said said he was diagnosed with GAD after a panic attack that occured two years ago while he was taking an exam at school.


Brandon Cooper holds a copy of the rejection letter. (Anthony Germain/CBC)

"I went to a psychologist,” he said. “I just wanted to see what they could do for me, and what they first did is they recommended a medication.”

Cooper was prescribed Prozac, a common antidepressant medication also known as a SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Prozac can be used to treat depression, obsessive compulsiveness and anxiety.

Cooper said he felt he did not need the medication and that, after trying it for a while, he stopped taking it. He said he learned about anxiety, and developed personal coping strategies that worked for him.

"I want to prove to [the Armed Forces] that my anxiety is not controlling me. And that I have methods in place where I can control the anxiety,” he said.

Now in his last year of high school at O’Donel High School in Mount Pearl, Cooper said he is aiming for grades that are above 90 per cent. He adds that he is overall an A student.

He also heads a mental health support group at his school. He said teachers and friends can vouch for his daily capabilities and that he has a strong volunteer presence both in school and in the community.

"I don't think that people should have to hide the fact that they have a mental illness," Cooper said.

Are others afraid to speak up?

After being put through the range of emotions he has experienced because of all this, Cooper said he would like to see the Armed Forces change the way they review applicants.

On top of that he now worries for the other men and women who either want to join the Armed Forces but are unable to because of a situation like his, or those who are currently serving who may not be able to find the help they need.

“I went back to the recruiting centre and told them that I don't agree with the fact that I got denied because of my anxiety … Call my doctors if you have to, just don't deny a person right away because of their mental illness,” Cooper said.

"We all know that mental health matters, so, the problem is, are there any people that are in the Armed Forces that are afraid to go get medical help because of a problem they have?"

Cooper plans to appeal the Armed Forces decision to reject him, a process that he said he is currently researching.

“It scares me because I don't think people should at all be discriminated because of what mental illness they have."
 

GAP

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An anxiety attack at the time the pucker factor is high does not bode well for the situation, any situation, but especially in regards to military operations..... ::)
 

Harris

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Loachman said:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/armed-forces-applicant-cites-discrimination-over-anxiety-diagnosis-1.2949644

“It scares me because I don't think people should at all be discriminated because of what mental illness they have."

Frankly, I'm good with discrimination based on the type of mental illness someone has IF it may effect their handling of weapons, explosives, or any other thing that may kill/injure someone else.

I believe that the systems doesn't do enough now to weed out those tho cannot handle stressful situations.  I've seen it first hand at my Unit with folks who never should have made it past BMQ.
 

Teager

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What's rather scary is the amount of people that commented on the article that believe mental illness should have no bearing on if you get hired by the CAF.
 

Ayrsayle

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While I am by no means an expert on it - I think it comes back to universality of service.  The limitations are largely based on suitability rather then direct discrimination.  While I am willing to accept that some individuals with a mental illness (insert any number of things in here) are more capable then some individuals without it - on the whole these conditions create a predisposition to having issues conducting your duties.

A friend of mine is Deaf and took the fact he was not eligible for military service particularly hard - and felt he was being discriminated against.  I can understand his frustration, but when I started to explain why hearing is an essential capacity to have in the military context (the system is set up for hearing and I can't see many ways around it without having everyone else have to change the structure of the army to accommodate) - He understood it wasn't about him not being good enough "personally", but that it would effect his ability to perform vital tasks.  It would put other people at risk.

Handling stressful situations is a must for all military personnel - Yes, you may think you have a good coping system, drugs, etc and that YOU feel it will not impact your performance (or that you are still better then everyone else, etc) - but ultimately that is a decision for the CAF to make (in this case).  The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate suitability, not for the system to accommodate everyone.
 

Dnas17

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I agree that someone who truly suffers from chronic issues like depression and anxiety should be "discriminated" against in one way or another when attempting to get into high stress careers such as the military. It is truly unfortunate; but with the amount of issues already in the CF such as PTSD and suicide it is truly for their own good. What bothers me is situations like this young man, who had a one time situation where his stress levels spiked and he took responsibility and looked to get treatment to better himself, like any person who is suffering from any issue whether it be physical or mental should and now many years latter it is affecting him.  Everyone at one  point or another has felt unhappy, stressed out or overly anxious about something. So it is unfortunate that due to  our society placing such  an emphasis on mental health awareness and support that as a result of this, doctors tend to throw out diagnosis and prescriptions like they're nothing and thus later on in life possibly end up doing more damage to said "treated" individual than good.

I feel like if the CF keeps this medical standard up of rejecting anyone who ever even brought up the word depressed to a doctor that they might find themselves mailing out an abundance of these medical rejection letters to young applicants fresh out of high school, or post secondary education who may have encountered a few months of tough times and simply looked to better themselves.
 

ModlrMike

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It bears repeating:

Everyone gets to apply, not everyone gets to join. Sort yourself out and apply again, or move along.
 

Brasidas

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He decided he didn't need medication for his problem, when a medical professional did. The onus is on him to get medical support to substantiate that.

The CF expects honesty on the part of applicants, and applicants lie at their own peril. The CF can and should exclude applicants like this one if they may not be able to handle stress without medication or other medical support.
 

Remius

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We also likely don't have all the facts.  Generally if someone had something that could be treated and "cured" as it were they are normally referred back to their doctor for confirmation.

I'm no expert on mental health issues so I don't know if GAD is a permanent condition or not but likely this young man still has medical issues that the CF cannot take a risk on.

I've seen enough recruits/troops with similar conditions (possibly undiagnosed and possibly not admitted to) to know that they are a liability.  Life and work in the CF can cause enough mental health issues/starins that we don't need to take risks on known pre-existing conditions. 
 

Loachman

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He understands that there is an appeal process, and is looking into that, yet he still had to whine about this "discrimination" to the press before even attempting the official route.

He will be an absolute charm if he ever gets in.

And for that reason, I have no sympathy for him.
 

dimsum

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Loachman said:
He understands that there is an appeal process, and is looking into that, yet he still had to whine about this "discrimination" to the press before even attempting the official route.

He will be an absolute charm if he ever gets in.

And for that reason, I have no sympathy for him.

Took the words right out of my mouth.
 

George Wallace

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Teager said:
What's rather scary is the amount of people that commented on the article that believe mental illness should have no bearing on if you get hired by the CAF.

I haven't read any of those comments yet, but would be tempted to ask those people if they would trust a person with a mental illness to:

1. be in possession of a loaded weapon;

2. be the pilot of a passenger aircraft;

3. be a bus driver;

4. be a medical practitioner or pharmacist; or

5. be in any of the many other Trades whereby the slightest error could cause fatalities.
 

Teager

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Agreed George. The comments seemed split 50/50 arguing for and against. Those saying they should be allowed have very limited knowledge of the CAF.
 

Eland2

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Ayrsayle said:
While I am by no means an expert on it - I think it comes back to universality of service.  The limitations are largely based on suitability rather then direct discrimination.  While I am willing to accept that some individuals with a mental illness (insert any number of things in here) are more capable then some individuals without it - on the whole these conditions create a predisposition to having issues conducting your duties.

A friend of mine is Deaf and took the fact he was not eligible for military service particularly hard - and felt he was being discriminated against.  I can understand his frustration, but when I started to explain why hearing is an essential capacity to have in the military context (the system is set up for hearing and I can't see many ways around it without having everyone else have to change the structure of the army to accommodate) - He understood it wasn't about him not being good enough "personally", but that it would effect his ability to perform vital tasks.  It would put other people at risk.

Handling stressful situations is a must for all military personnel - Yes, you may think you have a good coping system, drugs, etc and that YOU feel it will not impact your performance (or that you are still better then everyone else, etc) - but ultimately that is a decision for the CAF to make (in this case).  The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate suitability, not for the system to accommodate everyone.

One of my uncles spent 23 years in the army. He has lost a significant portion of his hearing and also suffers from tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a result of his service. He traces most of the loss back to the days when, as a young private in the RCOC, he was given the job of running a 10-kilowatt generator. The only way the job could be done was for him to sleep in the back of a deuce-and-a-half truck and then awaken as needed to run the generator.

As it turns out, the truck was located right beside the generator. He didn't wear hearing protection; back in those days, the importance of hearing conservation wasn't recognized as well as it is today and so he wasn't issued ear defenders.

The rest of the hearing loss (and probably the tinnitus) was likely the result of being exposed to the sound of small arms fire, tanks firing their main guns, etc., while on exercises and with no hearing protection. The military is a noisy environment, and only a few trades are able to avoid much exposure to the noise. Even RMS clerks, who work in offices on bases most of the time, can be posted to the field periodically and thus exposed to the hazard. They may also lose some of their hearing even with proper protection as noise has a cumulative effect on hearing and this is magnified due to the natural effects of aging.

It isn't a case of your hearing impaired friend not being able to hear commands and warnings properly and therefore being unable to respond properly (thus putting the lives of others at risk), it's also a case of losing what little hearing he may have left from being exposed to occupational hazards that are considered a normal and unavoidable part of the jobs that soldiers, sailors and aircrew are expected to do.

It costs the military - and by extension, taxpayers a lot of money to recruit, train, and equip someone to do a specific job. If the person has to be released early in their career due to service-related injuries that gravely aggravate a pre-existing medical condition, then financially speaking, a net loss will be borne by the military, and additional costs will be incurred through providing a disability pension and other disability-related supports. Still more costs may be incurred if the person released from employment lodges a lawsuit and is successful.

It would be irresponsible for the military to recruit such individuals knowing the risks of doing so, operationally and otherwise, and knowing that the potential consequences were quite easily avoided by not recruiting people who have pre-existing medical conditions that will seriously affect their ability to function and do their jobs properly.

As to the person who wanted to join while suffering from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), it isn't the fact that they need life-sustaining medication that is the problem, because the benzodiazepines and anti-depressants used to treat anxiety disorders aren't life-sustaining. The problem lies in the fact that these drugs can induce drowsiness and, in the case of benzodiazepines especially, can negatively affect alertness and judgment.

An associated problem lies in the fact that people on high-dose benzo regimens can experience serious symptoms, including seizures (to say nothing of exacerbation of their existing problem) when their prescriptions are cut off or refills are delayed. Imagine the problems that could result if a member who is dependent on that kind of medication is deployed to a remote region of the world where the required medications cannot be readily found if the existing prescription runs out. The net result is that you will have a member who will suffer needlessly and also become a management problem and thus combat ineffective.

The military isn't really structured to look after the needs of people who have chronic or permanent medical conditions as most of the medical resources are aimed at treating service members who are injured while on duty or in combat, and getting them back to the front lines or their jobs as quickly as possible, whenever feasible to do so, or if not feasible, sending them somewhere where they can get the treatment they need without regard for operational concerns or restrictions. That is to say, recommending that they be released from the military and sent back into civilian life.
 

Eye In The Sky

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Loachman said:
“So I checked off [that] I have general anxiety, and then probably two months after that I got a letter in the mail that said I was denied," he said during an interview.

"The fact that I was turned down immediately because of anxiety brings up a big deal to me, because if I wasn't to check off that box, then would I be in the Armed Forces right now," Cooper said. I would have been guilty of committing an offense so I probably made the right choice, even though I am having a hard time living with the result of being honest.

Had to add some reality in there.

Panic attack led to diagnosis

Now getting ready to graduate in June — and thinking about what his future holds — Cooper said said he was diagnosed with GAD after a panic attack that occured two years ago while he was taking an exam at school.

I'd bet a box of donut holes that if he had lied on his application, his 'anxiety' would have presented itself during BMQ.  I'm glad I won't be joining this particular person at Castle range as a Throwing Bay NCO ever, never mind deployed ops.
 

Atominthesky

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You cannot "lose" ADD/ADHD, you have it your entire life. It's a mental disorder. What happens is as you grow older your mind matures, which enables us to better control the condition.
 

jwtg

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Loachman said:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/armed-forces-applicant-cites-discrimination-over-anxiety-diagnosis-1.2949644

"The fact that I was turned down immediately because of anxiety brings up a big deal to me, because if I wasn't to check off that box, [then would I be one step further in the application process for, but still not in,] the Armed Forces right now," Cooper said.
Fixed that for him.

Atominthesky said:
You cannot "lose" ADD/ADHD, you have it your entire life. It's a mental disorder. What happens is as you grow older your mind matures, which enables us to better control the condition.
What about the growing body of research suggesting that ADD/ADHD is massively over-diagnosed, typically resulting from children (especially boys) not wanting to sit in chairs for hours at a time? (How dare they want to play...)

What I find interesting about all this is which mechanisms should or should not be in place for CF psychological screening.  Why not run everyone through the MMPI like some other organizations do?  I understand there are logistics to consider (time, cost, etc.) but surely those logistics pale in comparison to the value of having psychologically screened everyone who wears a uniform? 

EDIT to add: I'm a few years out of the recruiting system, so I'm not actually sure which measures are in place right now in terms of personality/psychological screening.  I have heard rumors of a personality test, anyone here have better and current info?
 

medicineman

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Atominthesky said:
You cannot "lose" ADD/ADHD, you have it your entire life. It's a mental disorder. What happens is as you grow older your mind matures, which enables us to better control the condition.

It's actually a developmental brain disorder which exhibits itself in behavioural problems. 

BTW, just because someone has a mental disorder, doesn't mean they have it for life - there are more than a few that self resolve or resolve with various therapies.

MM
 
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