ADHD and enlisting in military

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by maril, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. maril

    maril New Member

    I've Googled but had not much success finding recent info regarding enlisting in the US military/chances for those living with ADHD; found one link from years back stating requirements have relaxed. Any info? TIA. :D
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think it depends on the branch of service - I looked at one and some diagnosis's are ok but then others are only ok if they are in the past and the person hasn't been on medications for a certain number of years. As another member here recommended to me about a similar question, call your local recruiter for the branch of service you're interested in and they'll be able to tell you. Also, some things can be bypassed with a waiver if they want the person enough. My son is in high school now and I was concerned about his previous psychiatric issues as well as his juvenile record. The recruiter told me that if my son is really interested, they can get a recruiter involved with him now to tell him what he needs to do the next few years to qualify and apparently, they get the message across in a way that tries to help the kid stay out of trouble, feel good about himself, motivate him/her, etc.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 1 had a schoolfriend who wanted to enlist. Bear in mind, this is Australia, whose defence forces are already considered to be berserkers by some other countries...

    difficult child 1's friend, we'll call him Jack, was part of that gang of buddies who have a range of problems including ADHD, social issues, discipline problems - you name it. Jack was not the brightest kid, was at times verbally aggressive, often inappropriate, was on medications for ADHD. At school, teachers used to be afraid of him because he was violent and unpredictable. But he wanted to join the army.

    So Jack stopped his medications, then went in to the recruiting office. Since they asked questions like, "Are you currently on any medication?" and he could now answer, "No," he slid past. The army took him on.

    Time passed. The army put Jack through training, he seemed to get through it OK as far as we were told. Jack got posted to an isolated area and we gather became a problem. They realised he had problems and to their credit, did what they could to help him. Jack was moved from combat position to rear echelon, as a driver. I was a passenger in a car driven by him at about that time - he was scary. Still totally irresponsible and dangerous.

    Eventually Jack got invalided out of the army, on the grounds of being unfit.

    However, I remember soon after he enlisted, difficult child 1 bumped into a former teacher who asked how he as going. As part of the conversation, difficult child 1 said to the teacher, "Hey, remember Jack? Well, he went off his medications, joined the army, they gave him a gun and taught him to kill. Isn't that nice?"

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am one of the military moms (retired now) on the board.

    My son is ADHD and he joined the Marine Corps when he was 18. We knew that he would have to be off medications for 4 years prior to enlistment so he stopped during his high school years. Im not sure if that is still a requirement or not. You could check. We found out while he was already at boot camp that his recruiter should have obtained a waiver for his ADHD and that caused a bit of a problem for my son and he had to go wait in sick bay until a waiver came through. That was a real problem for me because both my son and I had told his recruiter over and over again about the ADHD and asked if it was a problem. Needless to say I was angry over the mishap.

    But, overall having ADHD didnt hamper my sons service at all. Just make sure the recruiter is on the ball.
  5. maril

    maril New Member

    Thanks much to all for the thoughtful and helpful replies - you've helped to give me a better picture.

    It does appear there would be good opportunities for difficult child if he were eligible to enlist; whether he could handle the military life is another story. difficult child has told me more than once he felt he did well when "institutionalized" (assuming he means the structure, etc.) but, of course, I know that the inpatient treatment scenario is different than what he could expect in the military. It seems difficult children dad is more focused on son enlisting; difficult child has thought about it but not actively pursued (talked with recruiters, who visited his school).
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010