If I have ADHD can I still fly?
Votes
Joined 01/28/2020 - 13 Posts
Answered By AOPA
If I have ADHD can I still fly?
2 Replies
Votes
Joined 01/30/2020 - 3 Posts
AOPA Staff Answer
Probably not. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disqualifying medical condition because of the underlying learning/cognitive performance deficits that are usually present in persons who have an established clinical diagnosis of the disorder. Many people, usually adolescents or teens, are not clinically diagnosed with ADHD but are prescribed stimulant or other types of medications used to treat the symptoms including hyperactivity and inability to focus and concentrate on tasks. It is a complicated disorder that can sometimes be seen along with other underlying learning or cognitive performance disorders. For that reason, someone who has been treated for ADHD with will be required to undergo neurocognitive testing after being off all ADHD meds for 90 days. The testing is comprehensive and evaluates cognitive performance in areas of short/long term memory, multitasking, executive function, processing times, and decision making that might be experienced in the flight environment. If the testing indicates no cognitive performance and no diagnosis of ADHD, a medical certificate may be issued under a special issuance authorization.
Votes
Joined 09/19/2019 - 21 Posts
That testing is by limited list FAA credentialed Neuropsychologists and runs about $1,300 for the screening battery, $2,800 if you need the whole battery. (This is noninsurance work). Taking and passing however is the eternal vow of abstinence from stimulants. You will need a negative urine on the afternoon of testing or first in the next AM, to show it was accomplished stimulant-free.

if you pass and are issued, and are subsequently discovered on stimulants (airline random urines) or someone “hotlines it in”, prepare to lose all certificates. 

Choose carefully! ADD is not a “yes you have it/ no you don’t...it is a cognitive spectrum. The reason the community psychologist isn’t successful is that he/she doesn’t have access to the aviator norms. Basically, if you can outscore the bottom 15th percentile of known decile matched aviators, the agency figures “whatever is there can’t be all that bad”.