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The Depression / Anti Depressants Merged Thread

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FreshPez

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First post, please be gentle.  I checked the recruiting category, didn‘t see this issue.

I‘ve been interested in the military all my life, never really considered it till recently.  I‘m in computer engineering, with two years job experience before graduation.  After 9/11 and two years in a cubicle, I‘ve decided that a desk job is a horrible way to spend the next 30 years, and have looked even more seriously at the military.

The problem is I‘m having the hardest time finishing the degree.  When going to my doctor, he suggested I maybe depressed.  If I talk to a councillor or get some form of help, I‘ll be able to finish my degree, I know I can.  But if I‘ve been treated for depression, will I ever be accepted into the CF?
 

Mike Bobbitt

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I don‘t have the "right" answer here (plenty of others will jump in with that) but my advice is treat the depression and take it from there.

I can‘t imagine that depression precludes you from the CF. Members sometimes suffer from PTSD and regular old depression and are not (generally) released as a result of that...
 
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dalredane

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I‘m no MD...but I do have a Psych degree. A lot of doctor‘s rush to make the assessment of "depression" with no long term criteria. Depression should be a global thing if it requires "treatment". When I mean global, I‘m talking about how it affects your entire life etc... The fact that you have a job and are on your way to completing your degree suggests that you are at least on the ball. Doctors like to treat symptoms rather than eliminate underlying factors.

- If you are having doubts about your career choice and/or education after that long of an investment then of course you will be somewhat "depressed".
- Look at the underlying causes in your life and then reassess if you are truly depressed or whether you are just going through a low time in life. Life is all about peaks and valleys and medication should be the last resort.

I was "depressed" a while ago while I was in a dead-end gov‘t job where I had no input. Made me have a short temper and sometimes not want to go to work on certain days...long story short...changed jobs and feel great.

Ask yourself what would I like to do that I for the most part "wouldn‘t consider work", then take the steps necessary to accomplish it. You may find that this "depression" is more a symptom of your current place in life rather than a biological problem.
 
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nexxyboi

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I‘m not sure how this works in the CND army, but in the US Army, depression prior to enlistment is in most cases a disqualifier. I would make extra sure before you do anything. Of course, if you "feel" depressed, getting treated should be your first priority. There are always other options.
 
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PilotGal

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Hey there Freshpez,

Interesting post. I have depression issues too, well, mostly seasonal depression, and I, too, am wondering if that will be a problem in joining the Canadian Forces. I would understand the reasoning behind disqualifying terribly depressed people, but I don‘t think they would automatically disqualify you for having paid a visit to the shrink for assessment or whatever. Again, I‘m not in the forces, so I wouldn‘t know their policies, but the logical thing to do would be to assess each case individually, I guess. And I do hope that people like us who want to serve in the Canadian Forces would be given the chance to do so.

D.
 
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KoRps

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Hey, I was just wondering if I can still join the army if I take anti-depressants?
 

Tpr.Orange

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To be honest i have no idea your best bet is to go to the nearest recruiting center, and speaking with one of the qualified medical staff at the facility to see what they say about it.
 

GrahamD

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I couldn‘t find the official policy after a short look around, but I can tell you that it would SEEM that the answer would likely be no.

I have seen plenty of people indicate that they were declined for needing prescription medication to treat ailments less "serious" for lack of a better word.

I mean, if you apply for a trade like plumber, or construction, or something else that is not combat arms, then maybe you would be looked at. But a soldier who requires medication to treat pshycological illness is not an ideal candidate to be placed into a combat situation.
 

ringo_mountbatten

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My personal experience with this issue when I applied was that the person conducting my medical told me it would be best if I weened off them asap if my doctor and I agreed it would be okay. Otherwise he said I might have problems getting an offer. The reason he gave was a very valid one; he said that if I were on ops or otherwise away from a pharmacy there would be no guarantee that I could refill my prescription in time to get more and that the effects of missing meds and how my body would react would be unknown. I was lucky and was able to start weening off them the next day. I never heard anything about that issue again and I was made an offer later on that I had to decline. Obviously this is just one persons story and the recruitin centre woulnd know far more about the policies than I would, but I think that if you had to be on meds that the outlook might be a little dim for the forces.
 

The_Falcon

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I was on Anti-depressents for about three years (Prozac). I started after I had already been accepted. Everywere I went on course, tasking, I had to go see the MO and speak with nearest SgtMaj, and reasure them I wasn‘t about to go pull a gomer pyle. I wasn‘t allowed to submit my name for tour however because of them. For basically the reason you stated, they probably would not be able to refill my scrip while I was over there, and they did not want going nuts.
 
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Jason Jarvis

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Based on my wife‘s ongoing experience with anti-depressants, I would advise you to consider other career options. Why? I don‘t know how to be delicate about this, so I won‘t try.

If you are taking anti-depressants because of a severe, life-altering event and are having regularly scheduled visits with either a psychiatrist or psychologist, then I would wait until both you and your counsellor agree that it‘s time for the pills to go. If, after a period of 6-12 months after stopping the medication, everything seems fine and you feel well adjusted with no recurrence of earlier problems, then go on down and talk to the recruiters.

BUT, if you are taking anti-depressants to treat a diagnosed medical condition, such as severe depression or bi-polar disorder, and you require the medication to moderate your seratonin levels (as in my wife‘s case), then you most definitely SHOULD NOT JOIN THE MILITARY. Aside from the remote chance of somebody "going nuts," someone caught without their prescription in a stressful environment is just as likely to collapse into a little corner of their own world -- which could lead to a Gomer Pyle -- but in any case they wouldn‘t be any good to their buddies because they simply couldn‘t function (at any level). Do you really want to take the chance of this happening?
 

combat_medic

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Lots of good points made here.

The CF is concerned as much with the fact that you‘re taking the medication, but the ARE concerned about the underlying condition. If you have clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health problems, then your ability as a soldier is severely hindered. When put into extremely stressful situations, it can aggravate the condition, with or without meds, and you may not be able to cope.

You should speak to your doctor or psychiatrist (whoever prescribed the meds in the first place) and ask them about your condition. If your doctor thinks that your condition has improved enough to warrant taking you off meds, then they can do that, or change the prescription, or offer alternate therapy.

But, as was already stated, are you sure this is what you want to do with your life? Some of the situations in which you might find yourself could exacerbate your symptoms, and delay any kind of long term cure. You could end up far worse off than you ever were. Even if the military accepts you, are you prepared for that kind of risk?
 
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venero

Guest
WOW thanks, This has been the most informitive thread I have read. I am on antderpressants and am waiteing to hear what Borden says about my meds. However I am not takeing antidepressants for depressan, I am takeing them for the anitobsessional charteristics that come with most antidepressional drugs. Ill post the outcome on here when I hear back from them.

Do you have a better chance of getting an offer if you join the Reserves then Regs?
 
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KoRps

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I thank you all for your input. After much thought I have decided that although I remain interested in the army, now is not the time. I have just gone through **** in my life and aside from that I have had depression from when I was a kid, geneticly. I will have to fix myself before I can join.
 
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Lajeunesse

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Hey everyone I have a quick question for those of you that can answer it. I‘m currently on Paxil (anti-depreasent) i‘ve been on this for a couple months now but I haven‘t told the military about this. They dont know about it for 2 reasons;

1)I started this medication after I took my drug test and statement.

2)I think this is a personal thing and was unsure if i was obligated to tell them if I was on it or not.
I‘m going to Basic soon and i know they‘ll find out there if I continue to keep it a secret plus I dont want to get into **** already so, what should I do?
 

cathtaylor

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When you go to basic you will be tested again and more intensive. They will find out about the medication. Perhaps you really should talk to your recruiter about this. Anti-depressants are something you really don‘t fool around with. If this indeed is something you need to help you. But I would talk to them if I were you. Just my two cents.
 

Sh0rtbUs

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CathTaylor is right. leaving it up to ‘dont ask, dont tell‘ will only result in trouble. You should really place it before them and see what they have to say about it. If they were to find out afterwards, you‘d be in a world of hurt for not letting them know from the get go.
 
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Lajeunesse

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ok **** now how pissed do you think they‘ll be for me not letting them know about it as soon as I took them or considerd it. What if they dont want me anymore becuase they think i‘m not mentally stable or somthing?
 

willy

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Let me tell a little war story here: without going into specifics, for obvious reasons of privacy for the individual involved, I once instructed on a course where a student was suffering from serious psychological problems. A long history of serious, serious incidents concerning this member came to light over the course of the time he/she was at the school. The individual in question frankly told the staff the whole history of the case, and it was quite bad to begin with. Moreover, though I am not a psychologist or a psychaiatrist, I could see, and other students who were living closely with the member could see the problem becoming worse as the course went on. It got to the point where the other students were expressing their concern to me on an almost daily basis, and I don‘t believe that they were overreacting at all. The long and the short of it was this: even though the member was judged by the staff as a whole to be a danger to him/herself and others, higher authorities intervened (against all my advice to the contrary) and the member in question graduated from the course. At what cost though?

What you should take from this example is the following: your being on antidepressant medication may or may not cause you to be removed from training. What I think you need to consider very strongly however, is that your basic training will be a stressful time for you, and I personally don‘t think that it‘s the place for you to be if you‘re going through a rough patch. I advise you to be frank with your recruiter right now, and to seek some professional advice as to whether or not proceeding on BMQ would be a good idea.
 
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