1. #1
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    Default Anxiety Disorder

    I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder a few years ago. I currently take medication for it. With the medication I am absolutely fine. In fact, not taking the medication for a few days is no big deal either and does not affect me.

    Is this something that would disqualify me from becoming a firefighter?

    Thanks,

    MTS

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    Quote Originally Posted by mts4602 View Post
    I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder a few years ago. I currently take medication for it. With the medication I am absolutely fine. In fact, not taking the medication for a few days is no big deal either and does not affect me.

    Is this something that would disqualify me from becoming a firefighter?

    Thanks,

    MTS
    I don't know, but you'll probably get a lot of different answers in this thread. Some will say yes, some will say no, some will say maybe. Psychological disorders are kinda fuzzy. It's not a clear cut thing, like diabetes or bladder cancer or a brain tumor. Maybe your doc diagnosed you with GAD, but another doc might not have. It's not something they can run a definitive test for.

    Look, the only way you'll find out for sure is to subject yourself to the hiring process. I'd venture a guess that the standards in this area, on a disorder that wasn't even recognized 20 years ago, are different with every department.

    Fill out those applications and start testing. You'll only find out by going through the process. The only thing you'll get from this thread is speculation.

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    I plan on trying when my city opens up applications again this summer. So we'll see...

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    It depends on what drug(s) you're taking. Some are narcotics (Valium) and are not allowed in the service, some are fine (Paxil). Also, simply because you were diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder does not mean it's correct. I don't know anything about you or your diagnoses, but I would get a second opinion. These days too many doctors are quick to come to that type of diagnoses.

    The first thing I would do is contact the departments you're interested in and request a list of medications that are not allowed.
    Eh?

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    I'm no expert, but it may be an issue with departments who conduct a psych test.

    That being said, there are many departments who do NOT conduct a psychological exam, so I (in my humble opinion) say you have a chance.

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    I take the medication Lexapro. It is nowhere near the power of something like Valium. Paxil sounds familiar to me, I believe it is similar to that, but I'm not sure. I understand what you are saying though, some medications will be fine, others won't. I'll try and find out.

    I plan on applying to the Louisville, KY FD and I believe they do conduct a psych test.

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    Just be truthfull in everything you do.

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    I am not sure this is the career for you. The fire service is a very stressful profession. Someone who is already nervous will most likely have issues. You may want to rethink your choice. Even if you do get hired, this seems like a recipe for future unhappiness.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    BCLepore: I do not disagree with you. That is always a possibility.

    It's my belief that I will be fine. I have already been rejected from pursuing my dreams of serving in the military and flying without even being given a chance. It is an automatic rejection no matter what.

    I do not believe I will have a problem. Since I have been taking medication I feel great and I've been subjected to situations in which previously I was quite neverous and now I feel fine. If the FD is willing to take me with this disorder than I'm going do it. I think I can do a great job and I'm going to give it a try.

    MTS

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    I too was diagnosed with GAD a couple years back. I was on the department for about 4 years and it hit me hard. There are many different methods of treatment including medication and therapy. The docs all want to throw meds around. I choose not to take meds and did what was called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It is a mix of cognitive and didactic training. No meds unless you want. This includes different exposure exercises. Depending on the severity of your anxiety will dictate your prognosis and the length the time to full recovery. It's going to take hard work but you will be successful if you tackle this animal. I created a website for those who want to learn more about all aspects of panic and anxiety. Take a look at it. It will give you a better understanding of what you are actually dealing with. Let me know how it goes and email me if you have any questions

    www.projectpanic.com


    Good luck.

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    MTS, I'm sure with a low-dose rx like Lexapro it would be no biggy. One of the best measure to treat anxiety is to be active. I don't know how physically active you are, but if you don't run, lift weights, etc, give it a whirl for a couple weeks (at least 3 days a week) of doing something active for at least 1 hr. After you get in a rhythm, take yourself off your meds and I would say you won't need your rx anymore.

    I had to take Lexapro while I was in college, and once I got active in the gym and got back into motocross, it all went away. One guy I workout with (who's in my dept) is on several meds for some undisclosed horrific events he's dealt with in his life. Being physically active has allowed him to go off his meds.

    But all in all Lexapro isn't a narcotic. It's no more serious than having to take daily allergy medicine. It just corrects chemical imbalances. But try some physical activity. It'll be a life saver... in more way than one.

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    The application, background and medical packets will ask you in several different ways, “Have you ever”. Computers don’t forget. If you don’t put it down they find it you’re immediately eliminated from the hiring process.

    If you list on your background, medical and psych information forms that you have seen a psychologist in the past or have been on anxiety or anti-depressants, the psychologist who interviews you is going to want to know why and talk to your doc. If your medical insurance paid the bill there is a record. In the process you will sign off your rights and they can look at anything they want.

    If a candidate has had a history of anxiety related disorders and medications their odds of becoming a firefighter are not good. Yes, there are exceptions. Few. Where this can really play out is in the psych evaluation most of these candidates fail. With problems in your past the doc will ask you some difficult questions that could take the wheels off your wagon.

    I asked a psychiatrist if someone gets treatment for a medical condition that’s OK. But it’s treated differently if someone seeks treatment for a psychological condition it can affect their chances of being hiring as a firefighter. The doc said it shouldn’t but too often does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mts4602 View Post
    BCLepore: I do not disagree with you. That is always a possibility.

    It's my belief that I will be fine. I have already been rejected from pursuing my dreams of serving in the military and flying without even being given a chance. It is an automatic rejection no matter what.

    I do not believe I will have a problem. Since I have been taking medication I feel great and I've been subjected to situations in which previously I was quite neverous and now I feel fine. If the FD is willing to take me with this disorder than I'm going do it. I think I can do a great job and I'm going to give it a try.

    MTS
    I know a fellow who was totally stable when hired and found aspects of the job becan pushing him towards the edge, Ultimately, even with medical help he was forced to retire his wife divorced him, and even a secondary career he was studying for while working was lost, I understand he is currently living on a measly pension.. depressed but stable for now.. he stated to me a couple months back that he recognizes now that it was the shift work that he was just not cut out for... each of us is differant on many levels I dont know THe questioner.. so have no idea what sort of fortitude he is made of I should mention I just retired myself after over 20 years on the job... I feel Great, but am looking for side work.. everyone is differant Most prolly should not under these circumstances

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