Can I Join the Military if I Suffer From ADHD?

The medical requirements for joining the military are not exactly cut and dry. They change, depending on the situation and since 2014, the medical qualifications set by the Department of Defense have been softened when it comes to a few specific health concerns.

Specifically, the softened qualifications address ADD, ADHSD and childhood asthma. All three used to cause a disqualification when it came to joining the military. However, with a waiver, you may still be able to join the military if you suffer from ADHD.

Military Recruiting for Those with ADHD

The old medical standards would disqualify any military recruit with ADHD automatically. Very rarely was a wavier granted and it was one of the most difficult types of waivers to get approved.

However, the medical standards have changes and those suffering from ADD/ADHD will only be disqualified if they have been treated for the illness in the past year or they show signs of it currently. Those with a previous history of ADHD or ADD and no longer taking medication for the illness may be able to qualify for military service without the need for an approved waiver.

It’s still necessary for a records review to be done and any history of ADD or ADHD will be evaluated. All treatments from the past three years will need to be submitted to MEPS in advance. This is done as a part of the pre-screening process for the military. If you’ve been treated for ADHD or ADD with medications other than Dexedrine, Ritalin or Adderall or you’ve suffered from a psychiatric symptom, such as depression, you may have to submit full medical records.

In addition, MEPS may ask for your school transcripts to show you’ve achieved acceptable academic performance without medication. Even if you needed medication for ADD or ADHD throughout school and didn’t stop the treatment until school was over, you could get a waiver to join the military.

Military recruiting for those with ADHD can be a bit tricky, but the softer medical qualifications do make it possible to join the military. Even if you suffer from ADD or ADHD, you may still have a future in the military.

Why the Military Softened Medical Standards

There are several reasons why the military eased the standards for recruits with ADHD or ADD. One of the major considerations was the statistic showing that about 30% of children diagnosed with ADHD will outgrow it by adulthood. However, the symptoms can become nervous tension or anxiety in an adult. This is the reason why military recruits with ADHD are handled on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, the military has found that many adults have ADHD, even without a diagnosis, and have been able to find ways to manage the illness.

Speaking with your Military Recruiter About ADHD

It’s not uncommon for military recruiters to give out information that’s not complete or accurate when it comes to military recruiting and ADHD. It’s not an easy answer and recruiters don’t always have the answer for you.

If you have ADD or ADHD and you want to join the military, you will want to speak to your local recruiter. You may still be able to join, depending on your situation. Some recruiters will have plenty of answers for you, but don’t be surprised if your recruiter needs to find out the information you need before getting back to you.

The reason you may still be able to join the military if you have ADD or ADHD is simple. You can still meet the criteria and show no symptoms of ADHD and you’ll receive a waiver. However, this may not be the situation for everybody. ADD and ADHD are handled on a case-by-case basis to ensure those enlisting meet the Aptitude and Physical Standards necessary.

Understanding the Medical Waiver Possibilities

As a military recruit with ADHD, it’s important to understand the waiver possibilities. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard all grand waivers to those not meeting the basic eligibility criteria for admittance.

A waiver may be granted based on your specific circumstances and may vary from one branch to another. It’s very difficult to give out general guidelines for waivers because they can vary so much.

However, it has been pretty common for waivers to be granted to military recruits with ADHD that have shown success in school without the need for medication. The key to getting a medical waiver when you suffer from ADD, ADHD or any other mental health or behavioral condition is directly related to the medication. Most disqualifying medical issues require you to be off medication to join the military.

If you’re a young person looking forward to serving in the military, it’s best to speak to a military recruiting office before you let ADD or ADHD disqualify you. This illness is no longer a disqualifying medical condition. While there’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted, the possibility is much higher than it used to be.




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