Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

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flyingjunkie
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Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by flyingjunkie »

So heres what my anxiety history looks like.

During my childhood and up until highschool, I never had anxiety or any other mental problem. But when I moved to a different province for college studies, I had few occasions of experiencing general anxiety symptoms, related with school, financial and family stress. My grand mother also passed away during that time which put my family and me through some difficult time. I was also prescribed some medications but only for a short period.

It only lasted for sometime and now it has been two years since I took my last anti anxiety prescription. Never had any anxiety again, did not even need to take any therapy, and have been mentally stable for the past two years. So what do you think are my chances of passing the Medical? Are there any pilots with anxiety history?


TL;DR - Never had anxiety before college
Anxiety hit during college and stayed for sometime due to financial and family situation, lasted for a year or two
Anxiety slowly faded when the circumstances changed and never again came back.


EDIT : This will be my very first medical
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dogfood
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by dogfood »

Don’t see why It would medicals are supprising pretty easy to obtain just don’t tell the doctor about it I doubt he would even ask anyways
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lownslow
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by lownslow »

I know people who have attempted suicide in the past and are airline captains now. Sounds like you’ll do fine.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by FOD »

flyingjunkie wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm
So heres what my anxiety history looks like.

During my childhood and up until highschool, I never had anxiety or any other mental problem. But when I moved to a different province for college studies, I had few occasions of experiencing general anxiety symptoms, related with school, financial and family stress. My grand mother also passed away during that time which put my family and me through some difficult time. I was also prescribed some medications but only for a short period.

It only lasted for sometime and now it has been two years since I took my last anti anxiety prescription. Never had any anxiety again, did not even need to take any therapy, and have been mentally stable for the past two years. So what do you think are my chances of passing the Medical? Are there any pilots with anxiety history?


TL;DR - Never had anxiety before college
Anxiety hit during college and stayed for sometime due to financial and family situation, lasted for a year or two
Anxiety slowly faded when the circumstances changed and never again came back.


EDIT : This will be my very first medical
FlyingJunkie,

The advice you received about "just don't mention it to your aviation medical examiner" is illegal. The moderators and owner of this website should be astounded that such advice is being offered here. It sucks, but, you have a psychological limitation that should prevent you from reaching a operating position in an airplane. In your own words "Anxiety hit during college and stayed for sometime due to financial and family situation, lasted for a year or two. Anxiety slowly faded when the circumstances changed and never again came back." Financial and family situation is your entire life, and most certainly will be very stressful when you join this industry. I am terribly sorry for your situation, but you MUST mention this to your medical examiner. For you to hide this, as advised by one poster here, is criminal and undermining the trust of the travelling public, your employer, your own family, and most importantly my family. There are thousands of career choices where you wont be a potential hazard to hundreds of people. Fly for fun, by yourself. Again, terribly sorry about your situation. But you must do the right thing and be honest with the Medical Examiner, it's meant to protect the rest of us.

FOD
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by rookiepilot »

FOD wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:45 pm

There are thousands of career choices where you wont be a potential hazard to hundreds of people. Fly for fun, by yourself. Again, terribly sorry about your situation. But you must do the right thing and be honest with the Medical Examiner, it's meant to protect the rest of us.

FOD
This is a sensitive issue.

He should discuss this with his doctor. That person is the only one qualified to discuss it with -- certainly no one here.

People can go through traumatic events or periods -- then often move past them in their lives.

You have absolutely no place in my view telling another poster they should not pursue their career, based on the information provided.
Neither anyone's call, nor our business.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by nightbird »

I would vote for not mentioning it. Forget what FOD said.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by Blueontop »

rookiepilot wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:13 pm
FOD wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:45 pm

There are thousands of career choices where you wont be a potential hazard to hundreds of people. Fly for fun, by yourself. Again, terribly sorry about your situation. But you must do the right thing and be honest with the Medical Examiner, it's meant to protect the rest of us.

FOD
This is a sensitive issue.

He should discuss this with his doctor. That person is the only one qualified to discuss it with -- certainly no one here.

People can go through traumatic events or periods -- then often move past them in their lives.

You have absolutely no place in my view telling another poster they should not pursue their career, based on the information provided.
Neither anyone's call, nor our business.
Absolutely +1 on that
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young grasshopper
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by young grasshopper »

Make an appointment to do your medical. Discuss it with your Doc. They are qualified to make the call.

If they say no- it’s probably for the best.

If they say yes- you’re good to go.

Honesty is usually the best policy.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by North Shore »

dogfood wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:15 pm
Don’t see why It would medicals are supprising pretty easy to obtain just don’t tell the doctor about it I doubt he would even ask anyways
Incredibly poor advice! You have a legal, and moral, duty to disclose openly, and honestly, all conditions that could affect your medical. This is one of those conditions.

However, I'm with Grasshopper ^ on this. Make an appointment to do a medical, and answer all of the questions honestly.

FWIW, I'm absolutely blind without my glasses (reasonably far outside the Cat 1 medical limits) and was so at my initial medical. It was explained to me then that the default position of Transport Canada medical was to get/keep people flying as much as possible - to that end, they sent me off to an Opthalmologist to get an assessment that my vision was stable, clear, etc, and wasnt going to cause a problem in the future; I did, it is, hasn't, and I'm 20 years into a career.

I would think that the process for you would be similar.

Good Luck!
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by JBI »

Transport Canada is surprisingly progressive when it comes to mental health issues and it is possible for pilots who are even on certain SSRIs to obtain a medical certificate. Nonetheless, you will likely need to have a note from your treating primary care physician or psychiatrist/psychologist to show to Transport Canada that you are stable, not on any medication, how long you have been off the medication and that there has not been any psychosis (i.e. loss of contact with reality - generally not an issue with Generalize Anxiety Disorder).

The information is laid out in Transport's Handbook for Civil Aviation Medical Examiners: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/ ... atry-ssris

In particular, for an initial medical it outlines:
Initial applicants:

Those applicants with a history of conditions covered by this protocol will need to submit a detailed report from the attending physician. This can be a family physician but may include a psychiatrist or psychologist if deemed necessary after initial assessment of the report by Civil Aviation Medicine medical staff or CAM’s specialist consultants.

The report from the psychiatrist or prescribing physician (non-psychiatrist) must include, as a minimum, the history of symptoms, specific diagnostic conclusions supporting one of the included diagnoses listed above, medication history and effectiveness, side effect profile and current status, narrative summary or treatment records documenting an uncomplicated illness without evidence of psychosis or suicidal behaviour.
As you can see from the quite erroneous initial responses in this thread, aviation medical situations, especially dealing with mental health issues are very poorly understood. Even though I am extremely frustrated with Transport Canada Civil Aviation medicine for a non-mental health situation related to my medical, as a former aviation lawyer I strongly recommend NOT lying to your Medical Examiner about past health issues. It opens up a whole can of worms in the case of an accident or incident and its not pretty. The flip side is I also don't recommend uninformed opinions on whether someone with a particular health situation can fly commercially or not.

At the end of the day, yes, it will be Transport Canada that makes the decision. Your Civil Aviation Medical Examiner will likely defer your initial medical. However, there definitely are pilots who have had various minor mental health issues flying safely throughout the country.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by Castorero »

There is an understandable streak among some pilots that it is a good thing to hide medical problems from their CAME and their GP during the dreaded visit.

After all, failing one's medical could mean loss of career, livelihood, ability to provide for one's family. We are only human, and self preservation is a strong driver.
The fact of the matter is that a good CAME is well aware of those tendencies and is tasked with making sure that you are not a menace to yourself or others.

That being said, if an issue arises, everybody bends over backwards to get you back in the air.

Unfortunately some serious problems will end one's flying career, and that is unavoidable.

An anxiety history should not, on the face of it, be a disqualifier. Only a discussion with a professional can ascertain the facts of an individual situation.

The medical questionaire does include a query about historic psychiatric or neurological problems and to lie about that on your first medical is not the best start for a career in aviation. It may well become a cause of stress and anxiety in itself. Why risk it?

Best to be open and truthful, it speaks volumes about your integrity and your ability to deal with reality.

I worry more about the older pilot who seldom visits his GP and uses the Pilots medical as a yardstick for medical surveillance, especially when things that should be talked about are not, for fear of failure.
One misses the opportunity to investigate and correct problems early, and keep you flying longer.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by co-joe »

lownslow wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:20 pm
I know people who have attempted suicide in the past and are airline captains now. Sounds like you’ll do fine.
This is the most terrifying post I have ever read on Avcanada.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by pelmet »

As a commercial pilot, you will encounter stressful situations on occasion. This may include stressful financial situation again combined with a stressful flight situation. I would skip the Cat I and at most, be satisfied with a Cat III medical.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by FOD »

rookiepilot wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:13 pm
FOD wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:45 pm

There are thousands of career choices where you wont be a potential hazard to hundreds of people. Fly for fun, by yourself. Again, terribly sorry about your situation. But you must do the right thing and be honest with the Medical Examiner, it's meant to protect the rest of us.

FOD
This is a sensitive issue.

He should discuss this with his doctor. That person is the only one qualified to discuss it with -- certainly no one here.

People can go through traumatic events or periods -- then often move past them in their lives.

You have absolutely no place in my view telling another poster they should not pursue their career, based on the information provided.
Neither anyone's call, nor our business.
You are correct. I approached FlyingJunkie's question with my own bias and I shouldn't have done that. I have a very intimate link to the GermanWings tragedy and that has affected how I approach topics of mental health. I apologize. All I wanted to implore, sans bias, is not to mislead the medical examiner as was suggested in the forum.

FOD
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by JBI »

pelmet wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:21 am
As a commercial pilot, you will encounter stressful situations on occasion. This may include stressful financial situation again combined with a stressful flight situation. I would skip the Cat I and at most, be satisfied with a Cat III medical.
If this is sarcasm I've apparently missed the joke, but this post is not only inaccurate and uninformed, and shows a complete lack of knowledge with anything related to anxiety or mental health issues in general. Did you not even look at the Transport Canada Medical Examiners' guide?
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by sicamore »

anx·i·e·ty
aNGˈzīədē/
noun
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
"he felt a surge of anxiety"

If none of you have never felt the above I would offer none of you are pilots (or human for that matter) Practically everyone I fly with is worried about the uncertain outcomes of their careers.

Some people have taken medicine for it and others haven't.

Ironically all of you who talk about telling a doctor of anxiety have not professed your anxiety, ( and don't try to tell me you haven't ever suffered from the above definition) thereby in turn bypassing the rules.

Anyone that has, will have been offered drugs by the doctor which is the norm these days especially stateside. Without the thought of an aviation medical, many do take the medication such as the above op. Once he becomes a pilot he will learn like you to not share his fears with any medical professional.

Doesn't really seem to help anyone does it?

The question the doctor will ask is have you ever thought about suicide. Anxiety ≠ suicidal tendencies.

If you have not thought of suicide I would suggest you have nothing to be concerned about
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by paddy »

pelmet wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:21 am
As a commercial pilot, you will encounter stressful situations on occasion. This may include stressful financial situation again combined with a stressful flight situation. I would skip the Cat I and at most, be satisfied with a Cat III medical.
Well said. Why use knowledge, pertinent information or even common sense when dispensing advise - because hey, “it doesn’t affect me anyway.”
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by CpnCrunch »

I find it interesting that some posters think they're immune to the effects of chronic stress. It's not stressful situations we're talking about here, it's long-term chronic stress, which is a completely different situation that can produce symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, headaches, etc.

Studies of Afghanistan veterans found that 50% of veterans suffer from chronic multi-symptom illness, one year after returning from active service:

https://www.research.va.gov/currents/0516-2.cfm

Studies on emergency room physicians find that about 50% of them are suffering from chronic burnout:

https://journals.lww.com/co-criticalcar ... are.4.aspx

IMO I feel it's better to have a pilot who understands and deals with the effects of chronic stress, rather than someone who has never experienced it, or who brushes it under the carpet (like the GermanWings guy).
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by Dry Guy »

It's helpful to think about your capacity to handle stress as a bucket. As stress falls like drops of water eventually the bucket will overflow and you will get they symptoms mentioned above like anxiety, depression, fatigue, etc. Almost all of us have strong buckets that do not leak but that doesn't matter in terms of overflowing from a sustained drip.

You need to have a way to empty the bucket as it fills or this will happen to you. It doesn't matter who you are. Recreation and exercise, meditation, whatever works for you. I wouldn't recommend drugs like alcohol. You might come home from work and your wife has a list of things she wants to do on your days off and you just need to tell her sorry I need some time to unwind. I'd be happy to hear what strategies others have for this as I struggle with it myself.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by rookiepilot »

pelmet wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:21 am
As a commercial pilot, you will encounter stressful situations on occasion. This may include stressful financial situation again combined with a stressful flight situation. I would skip the Cat I and at most, be satisfied with a Cat III medical.
Another one who doesn't get it.
It's just not that simple.

There are individuals that can focus and shoot approaches to minimums in the ugliest weather, but get stressed over a spot on their car. It's not a simple equation.

Anxiety regarding surface things can be caused from legacy trauma that might date back to childhood, perhaps. It manifests as anxiety over traffic or finances. But that's not it.

Yes it can also just be there for medical reasons, which may or may not be treatable, but very often there is a cognitive reason -- that can be treated cognitively. I suggest the OP consider this as part of their process.

We tell those with physical disabilities they can get therapy and live a full and complete life.

Why the refusal to do this for those with a mental issue that can be treated with therapy?

People, please stop telling people to give up on their dreams. Doesn't have to be that way.

Ps + 1 as well, Crunch, Dryguy.
Outdoors is excellent therapy. I like hiking myself.
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Last edited by rookiepilot on Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by HO Driver »

Some hide it better than others. I can guarantee you there are guys out there right now that suffer from anxiety but power through it to stay employed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMIAz77JBMk
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by dialdriver »

A past episode of anxiety is not going to limit you from flying. Lieing on the application is far more serious. Anxiety and depression are common issues in the general population and the flying community. You may be asked for a letter from an appropriate physician as part of your application, but I expect you will obtain a medical without difficulty. More details on anxiety can be found on the Transport Canada website:

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/ ... atry-ssris

If you are still concerned, get a recommendation on who is a competent medical examiner (trust me, they aren't all competent) and book a consultation. Since you aren't doing a medical, the conversation will be kept confidential. You might also have some success contacting the Regional Medical Officer of Transport Canada, who won't even ask your name.

Once you do a medical the file is confidential and should not concern you.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by confusedalot »

Judging by what you are indicating, sounds like too much has happened too fast, so I would think it to be rather understandable to limp a bit. Sounds like a one off acute condition. I am not a doctor.

Below is a silly link to an appropriate tc document. At the appropriate chapter, psychological and psychiatric issues appear to be dealt with on a case by case basis, and not automatically a dis qualifier.

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/ ... u-2331.htm

Seems to me that you would not have much of a problem, except for some additional bureaucratic requirements.

Flying is easy and predictable for the most part. Sometimes you get thrown a curveball here and there. If you can handle curveballs that tend to happen in regular life, you won't have much of a problem.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by RatherBeFlying »

Who among us has gotten through adolescence and early adulthood with no bouts of anxiety whatsoever? If you really want to experience anxiety go through medical school.

Yes, the doc examining you knows all about it.

Being off meds and stable for a period of x years and letter from GP or psych will likely get you a fit assessment. You might want to contact your RAMO to find out what documentation he wants.

You won't need a Class I until you are ready for a Commercial written or flight test. At that time a record of flying with a Class 3 will help.

Be grateful that you were not diagnosed with ADHD. A lot of kids who don't really need it get medicated for it. In the UK, it's next to impossible for an aspiring pilot with that childhood diagnosis to get a medical.
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Re: Anxiety past. Do I have any chance of getting Cat 1 Medical?

Post by Beefitarian »

I have never had anxiety but depression has visited. It never really came up but I have held Cat 1 several times.

My only concern for you is, if financially unstable situations cause anxiety, you may want to avoid becoming a CPL.

Sure you can get a job currently but that will probably change very rapidly at some point.
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