smithfly114
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:00 pm

Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:23 pm

Hello all -

I have a very good friend who thinks he may be "clinically depressed"
This person is a very good friend of mine. He is also hoping to make a career out of the aviation industry as a pilot. This is where his reluctance comes from for seeking help, he has worries that if he seeks professional help, and is diagnosed with "clinical depression" is will be a big black mark when trying to get hired by an airline. Any truth to this?
Also he has taken some on line tests from reputable medical groups which suggest that he may indeed have this. So it isn’t just that he was feeling sad for a week of two.
Suggestions and thoughts please
CCS
 
theCoz
Posts: 3933
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:06 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:28 pm

What's the fun in flying when you're depressed?
 
Mir
Posts: 19093
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:34 pm

Well, if flying isn't fun when you're depressed, its not likely that anything else will be.
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
theCoz
Posts: 3933
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:06 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:43 pm

Hmm, well here's an idea. Go to the doctor and tell him you want to 'quit smoking'. They prescribe an anti-depressant that is known to be extremely good for quitting smoking. Try it for 30 days to see if it does any good. You can't solo while on any anti-depressant according to the FAA. You have to wait 90 days after you stop taking the medication to fly again. Just a random thought...
 
theCoz
Posts: 3933
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:06 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:47 pm

I was talking to Mir  Insane
 
concord977
Posts: 1224
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 1:43 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:53 pm

The diagnosis of depression will not cause a hiring issue, in itself. However, many of the drugs used to treat depression have either sedative or stimulant effects on the body - and would cause a red-flag on his/her physical.

Depression is best treated with a combination of drugs and counseling. Those treatments are not regarded as permanent. However, people who have experienced depression and stop their treatment face a 60% chance of relapse.

A psychologist/psychiatrist who believes in heavy counseling may be able to treat a patient with no prescription drugs whatsoever. If that is possible with your friend, there should be no issue with his commercial aviation physical.
No info
 
smithfly114
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:00 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:53 pm

what does Depression have to do with smoking?
this is a serious question folx
CCS
 
smithfly114
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:00 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:54 pm

Thank you concord
.
.
.
CCS
 
cha747
Posts: 753
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:07 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:59 pm

First of all, I'm glad your friend is trying to seek help. The online tests are a first step, but your friend should meet with his primary care doctor. Family Doctors have medically sound surveys patients can take (I forget the specific names, but they are quick tests that can be taken during an office visit). These surveys are generally based on the DSM-IV criteria for clinical depression. Usually, family doctors have a low threshold to start antidepressants for patients who are identified with depression.

As far as flying... your friend should probably seek counseling if they want to make a career in the aviation industry. As far as I know and as far as the current FAA regs go, the moment a pilot is placed on ANY medication that has an indication for clinical depression, they cannot fly. Simple, end of story. Even if a patient is on an antidepressant for smoking cessation, obesity, or pain (bupropion is marketed as Zyban for smoking cessation and Wellbutrin for Depression & Prozac has been used with limited success as an adjunct for obesity treatment & tri-cyclic anti-depressants are used as adjuncts for chronic pain therapy). I believe that all medical certificates are revoked while a pilot is on any of these classes of medications. IIRC, you have to be off meds and symptom free for 3 months (or 90 days?) before you can get your certificate back.

Counseling, especially with a Psychiatrist, cannot be reported to the FAA and as such, should be the treatment modality that your friend should probably initiate to remain a pilot. According to national insurance laws, employers are not allowed to know about their employees medical illnesses.

But I am certainly not the aurthoriy on this. Have your friend get an appointment with an FAA AME (Aviation Medical Examiner). An AME is up on all the regs and is the one who issues the fligth certificates.

Best of luck to your friend for his aviation career.
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
 
NWA742
Posts: 4505
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2002 11:35 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:02 pm

what does Depression have to do with smoking?
this is a serious question folx


I think he was talking about depression which could result from quitting smoking.



-NWA742
Some people are like slinkies - not good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs
 
cha747
Posts: 753
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:07 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:08 pm

what does Depression have to do with smoking?

So here's a serious answer for a serious question. Told to me by one of my Psychiatry profs during med school so it's purely anecdotal. Apparently, when they were doing the clinical trials for Bupropion, the researchers noticed that a good number of patients who were smokers and on the drug (not placebo) quit or reduced their smoking. More tests were done specifically for a lower dose of Bupropion and Zyban was born. Many smokers ask about the anti-smoking "pill" but are not ready to pay the cost as many insurance companies won't spring for it (they'd rather pay millions to treat your lung cancer...not hundreds for your smoking cessation meds...go figure). So then patients feign depression to try to get Wellbutrin.
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
 
cha747
Posts: 753
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 1:07 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:11 pm

Hmm, well here's an idea. Go to the doctor and tell him you want to 'quit smoking'. They prescribe an anti-depressant that is known to be extremely good for quitting smoking. Try it for 30 days to see if it does any good. You can't solo while on any anti-depressant according to the FAA. You have to wait 90 days after you stop taking the medication to fly again. Just a random thought...

Another example of why docs have to be very careful, else they can be nailed for insurance fraud. There are now many drugs better than Wellbutrin for depression and not all anti-depressants have that smoking cessation side-effect.
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
 
USAFHummer
Posts: 10261
Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:12 pm

I think the connection that the TheCoz was trying to make regarding smoking and the situation was that many anti-smoking drugs are basically anti-depressants, so in order to get the anti-depressant meds without revealing the persons depression, quitting smoking would be sort of a "cover story", regardless of whether or not the person actually smokes...I question the legality of this but Im fairly sure that is what TheCoz had in mind in reply 3

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
smithfly114
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:00 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:12 pm

Gotcha, thank you for the clearing that up.
you have all been very helpfull
thank you
CCS
 
theCoz
Posts: 3933
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:06 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:38 pm

I think the connection that the TheCoz was trying to make regarding smoking and the situation was that many anti-smoking drugs are basically anti-depressants, so in order to get the anti-depressant meds without revealing the persons depression, quitting smoking would be sort of a "cover story", regardless of whether or not the person actually smokes...I question the legality of this but Im fairly sure that is what TheCoz had in mind in reply 3

Greg

oops, I guess I could have been more clear. Zyban, or the generic, Wellbutrin SR...are both the same drug. Only one is marketed purley for smoking cessation. Zyban is what a person would ask for if they wanted to quit smoking. Wellbutrin SR is what a person looking to treat depression may ask for.

There are basically two TYPES of anti-depressants. Wellbutrin SR/Zyban falls within the MAOI class, and it mainly affects dopamine levels in the brain. This is why it helps quitters stop smoking and acts as an anti-depressant as well. Taking this drug often restricts a patient's use of many other medications.

The other type is the SSRI which affects seratonin levels in the brain. This is also known as a 'feel good' neurotransmitter.

One class of drug may help one person's depression and not the other. It's fairly patient specific. See if your friend can go to the doctor to 'quit smoking' and see how it works. I'm sure many pilots quit smoking that way.

oh ya, disclamer: Take only your doctor's advice. I've heard people who seek medical advice online are often misinformed by what they read.
 
concord977
Posts: 1224
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 1:43 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:44 pm

" ... that many anti-smoking drugs are basically anti-depressants ... "

This is true. Although addiction to smoking is partly chemical dependence, it is also a unique form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Anti-depressants do not treat the chemical side of nicotine addiction, they treat the OCD portion.

They are also used for Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attack Syndrome and Agoraphobia, to mention a few.

It doesn't really matter WHAT the drug is prescribed for. It matters that the drug may or may not have certain side-effects that must be considered by an FAA medical examiner.

Certain drugs are on the 'no-fly' list. I know that Prozac / Pamelor / Paxil were prohibited at one time. Those drugs are less commonly used today than they were 10 years ago.

Newer drugs (Celexa, Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Wellbutrin) are much more effective and are believed to have reduced side-effects. I can't confirm that these drugs are either allowed or prohibited by FAA examiners.
No info
 
theCoz
Posts: 3933
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:06 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:07 pm

You're not allowed to fly on any psychoactive medication, this includes all benzodiazapines like Xanax, and Valium, and all anti-depressants. A person may be able to use herbal remedies, for depression, I think. Perhaps take flax seed oil with high amounts of Omega 3's and some St Johns Wort. Don't quote me on that because this is just what I have seen in popular media.
 
smithfly114
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:00 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:13 pm

On behalf of my friend I would like to thank you all
.
.
.
CCS
 
theCoz
Posts: 3933
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:06 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:18 pm

Pass on my gesture of good luck!  Smile
 
smithfly114
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:00 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:21 pm

Will do. thanks again

cheers
CCS
 
AA777
Posts: 2358
Joined: Thu May 20, 1999 7:07 am

RE: Clinical Depression

Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:57 pm

The most important thing is that he gets treated for his Depression first. Drug therapy, along with one on one therapy is basically how its done. If he wants to be a pilot, I guess he will have to wait until his treatments are over. Remind him that the most important thing is that he feels happy again, that way he can get his career and life in order the most sucessfully. If you have any questions feel free to ask... I've had similar problems so I know what its like....

-AA777
 
redngold
Posts: 6673
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2000 12:26 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Wed Oct 13, 2004 6:16 am

A good doctor will also look for any underlying medical causes for the depression. It may not be a purely psychiatric issue. Lyme Disease, Epstein-Barr virus, hypothyroidism and diabetes can mimic or cause clinical depression. There are also other psychiatric conditions that, when untreated, can lead to depression, such as anxiety disorders. I was clinically depressed for years, even with medication, until my doctor and I discussed my resistance to medication and went through a couple of other checklists. The result: a new diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. When my OCD is under control, I'm not depressed. Plain and simple.

redngold
Up, up and away!
 
ordflyer
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:08 pm

RE: Clinical Depression

Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:26 am

I'll throw in my agreement with many of the above posts...the most important thing right now is for your friend to visit a doctor to find out what the situation is, and get medication/treatment if necessary. The sooner he/she can get treated for depression, if that is what the case is, the sonner they will be able to resume or start flying activities. As long as the depression is taken care of now, I can't imagine it having too much of a negative effect on future job possibilities. The most important thing is to get it taken care of quickly since, as others have said, it is pretty much not possible to fly while on any kind of depression medications.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ken777, TheF15Ace and 14 guests