Does ADHD disqualify you from joining the (U.S.) military?

HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
Now that I have a high school diploma I've started thinking about joining the military, which I have thought about and looked into before, but I also have realized that I have an ADHD diagnosis which could disqualify me.

I've found things online saying that if you can go without treatment for 2 years you can enlist, and I honestly don't want to take ADHD medicine anymore since it doesn't do much for me, so I could do that if needed. Does anyone know for sure that having ADHD/going through ADHD treatment disqualifies someone from joining the military? Could you get a waiver or something if your ADHD wouldn't massively affect your performance?

(As for autism which does disqualify people and I know might get brought up, I don't have a diagnosis, nor do I plan on mentioning having it since I don't believe it'd affect me much in the military.)

Comments

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor
    I doubt it honestly,they would give you psychological testing but I doubt ADHD would cause you to fail.
  • Teach51Teach51 Citizen
    edited June 24
    My son was a combat soldier in the IDF with ADHD, he passed all the necessary tests but ADHD is not a contra-indication to join the military over here. He did some crazy stuff though in the army because he is so impulsive. Would ADHD lower your profile Hylian? What job would you like to do in the army?
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I don't believe that ADHD would massively affect my performance in the military, at least not at this point. I have better self control now as an adult (even if I'm sometimes hyperactive, but it kind of benefits my physical performance) and have gotten okay at staying on task, following directions, etc. I also don't have issues with listening to authority or anything like that, which I know can be a concern (if I did I would not be considering going into the military 😂).

    To add, I don't mind going off of my medication if needed because I've noticed that it (Strattera) actually doesn't benefit my symptoms much, so I have been essentially coping without aid from it this entire time (and doing okay at it + improving).

    As for what I want to do in the military, I was thinking about going into the army and trying to go into one of their medical fields. They have jobs relating to veterinary care, but I'm also interested in caring for other people. My decision isn't set in stone though, and I am still researching what specifically is available to me and would be good to look more into, especially while having ADHD and some issues with mathematics.
  • I don't know if your diagnosis would keep you out of US military. The military can be a good option for some and disastrous for others. 

    You might want to consider that once you are in the US military, you go where they want you to go, they may assign you to some area you are not interested in, and...
    you might have to go to war. 

    It is not a given that we will start another war. And if you are in the military you may end up shooting at other human beings, dropping bombs on people, being shot at yourself. 

    My husband is a veteran. The Army was good for him. He did go to Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the first Iraq war. He talked about having to drive a tank straight ahead, even though there was a little girl in the way. Because a tank driver sits high up on the tank, he could not see if she got out of the way or not. It haunts him. 

    My husband came out of it well-balanced and more mature. He is online with several veteran forms and FB, etc. Many, many vets who have been at war are killing themselves or considering same. 


  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I don't know if your diagnosis would keep you out of US military. The military can be a good option for some and disastrous for others. 

    You might want to consider that once you are in the US military, you go where they want you to go, they may assign you to some area you are not interested in, and...
    you might have to go to war. 

    It is not a given that we will start another war. And if you are in the military you may end up shooting at other human beings, dropping bombs on people, being shot at yourself. 

    My husband is a veteran. The Army was good for him. He did go to Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the first Iraq war. He talked about having to drive a tank straight ahead, even though there was a little girl in the way. Because a tank driver sits high up on the tank, he could not see if she got out of the way or not. It haunts him. 

    My husband came out of it well-balanced and more mature. He is online with several veteran forms and FB, etc. Many, many vets who have been at war are killing themselves or considering same. 


    I have considered those things for as long as I've wanted to go into the military, and often recheck with myself if I am okay with them, especially the fact that I may have to go to war + possibly kill people. I'm still deciding if I actually want to go into the Army (and researching if I would even be able to do so). I also wouldn't be trying to do that for a while, since I have other things in my personal life to take care of first, so thankfully I have time to mull it over even more.
  • BenderBender Citizen
    edited June 25
    Obviously, I can't help with direct advice since I'm not American.

    But, given the turn of the discussion towards the advantage and disadvantages of such a decision, can I ask what interests you about the military and what do they offer that you can't find somewhere else?

    Note: In several European countries, the military will pay for people studies (Uni level) and financially support them for the duration of their studies, on condition that they stay in the military (use their skill and knowledge for the military) for a determined number of years. Some people find this advantageous, but they're usually countries that don't go to war much.

    Excuse my ignorance: are you seeking a similar arrangement due to your current situation? I would imagine that training as a medic, lawyer or engineer for free in the US would be an incredible opportunity for many people, even if they have to work for the military for a while.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Bender said:
    Obviously, I can't help with direct advice since I'm not American.

    But, given the turn of the discussion towards the advantage and disadvantages of such a decision, can I ask what interests you about the military and what do they offer that you can't find somewhere else?

    Note: In several European countries, the military will pay for people studies (Uni level) and financially support them for the duration of their studies, on condition that they stay in the military (use their skill and knowledge for the military) for a determined number of years. Some people find this advantageous, but they're usually countries that don't go to war much.

    Excuse my ignorance: are you seeking a similar arrangement due to your current situation? I would imagine that training as a medic, lawyer or engineer for free in the US would be an incredible opportunity for many people, even if they have to work for the military for a while.
    I'll admit that the training and educational benefits I could get for working for the military are a part of why I would like to go into it. I also think that how structured a job working for the military can be appeals to me (even though people often move around + get told where to go, but I don't mind those things and could get used to them). Being able to work more directly for the government, and then come out of that with training/skills I could use to get a job that would benefit my community in some way (hence why I was looking at their options for medical-related careers, I've wanted to eventually go into the healthcare field for quite awhile) is also something that interests me.

    I honestly am still weighing the benefits and cons, though. I haven't been able to fully think about this for a couple years, since while Trump was president transgender people couldn't go into the military anymore, so I thought that the idea of doing that was just a pipe dream. Biden has made it so that if you are trans you can join the military, as long as you can pass the physical fitness requirements for people of your gender identity (which I can for the Army), so now that I am getting my HS diploma and have more options available to me within the military I've been thinking about it more.
  • BenderBender Citizen
    Thank you, I fully understand where you're coming from and known people who did the same thing.

    I wish you get to live to see the state doing this instead of the military, as it happens here.

    Good luck, either way, it's a good sign that you're not making this decision impulsively and it looks to me that you have the maturity to understand what you're doing.
  • SlyFoxSlyFox Citizen, Member
    just don't lie if they ask about autism and such, if it comes up later they at least dishonorable discharge you, at most send you to military prison. you get a military trial, ie no rights that citizens  get. 
    you might like airforce better if you have asvab score high enough to get in. did you take asvab? they have shorter more relaxed boot camp, better accomdations, least likely to see combat.  I would joined marines or army If i could have but i wanted to be infanty. if you want to avoid combat airforce is way to go. unless you're a pilot or special forces, closet you're get to combat is guard duty as airman. wouldn't do navy unless you're ok being stuck in cramp quarters for 6 months out of a year on a floating coffin. 
    I would never do navy or armor. 
    I still think if i could and was in shape i'd join marines or army likely at this point. but i'm disqualify and get bullied about it at work and on social media. i'm 1 year off from being too old now. I think my life would been way better if i'd been able to join or i'd be dead so either way way better.
  • SlyFoxSlyFox Citizen, Member
    Bender said:
    Obviously, I can't help with direct advice since I'm not American.

    But, given the turn of the discussion towards the advantage and disadvantages of such a decision, can I ask what interests you about the military and what do they offer that you can't find somewhere else?

    Note: In several European countries, the military will pay for people studies (Uni level) and financially support them for the duration of their studies, on condition that they stay in the military (use their skill and knowledge for the military) for a determined number of years. Some people find this advantageous, but they're usually countries that don't go to war much.

    Excuse my ignorance: are you seeking a similar arrangement due to your current situation? I would imagine that training as a medic, lawyer or engineer for free in the US would be an incredible opportunity for many people, even if they have to work for the military for a while.
    you have to become a officer to do that in usa. and then you going be in it for long haul, 2 years for every year in college or more. another issue with military i dk if i'd done good with is you have to constantly be working to get promoted. if you fail to get promoted so many times they wash you out. they constantly have new people joining and so old people need to push up or out. no room for stalled people in military. most my friends and family who joined are out either due to wanting out or failing to climb the ladder. my cousin is 4 years from retirement, hes keep climbing and seeking new opportunities. early on he became crew leader even though wasn't normal rank for that position. hes being shipped to japan even though i guess he doesnt' want to and his gf of 6 years won't get to go, so he'll be year away from her.  like others say you go where they say when they say. personal life be damn, great for single people, sucks if you have relationship. plus side is hes been to germany, uk, japan, korea, middle east etc. i haven't ever left my city much. 
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    SlyFox said:
    just don't lie if they ask about autism and such, if it comes up later they at least dishonorable discharge you, at most send you to military prison. you get a military trial, ie no rights that citizens  get. 
    you might like airforce better if you have asvab score high enough to get in. did you take asvab? they have shorter more relaxed boot camp, better accomdations, least likely to see combat.  I would joined marines or army If i could have but i wanted to be infanty. if you want to avoid combat airforce is way to go. unless you're a pilot or special forces, closet you're get to combat is guard duty as airman. wouldn't do navy unless you're ok being stuck in cramp quarters for 6 months out of a year on a floating coffin. 
    I would never do navy or armor. 
    I still think if i could and was in shape i'd join marines or army likely at this point. but i'm disqualify and get bullied about it at work and on social media. i'm 1 year off from being too old now. I think my life would been way better if i'd been able to join or i'd be dead so either way way better.
    I certainly don't plan on lying about anything. I don't even have an ASD diagnosis, so unless something like that gets brought up I just don't really need to mention it. I do have an ADHD diagnosis though and will mention that.

    I also haven't taken the ASVAB yet, I need to do that.
  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen
    which branch of the military are you considering join?

    Have you consider civil forces like the coast guard?
  • BenderBender Citizen
    edited June 26
    SlyFox said:
    you have to become a officer to do that in usa. and then you going be in it for long haul, 2 years for every year in college or more. 
    Sounds about right - my friend studied Physics (for 4 years) and stayed with them for another 7, working as a professor, while doing his PhD and I'm pretty sure he was an officer indeed. The biggest difference was that he was never deployed or in actual combat.

    TBH I'm not entirely sure how things are now (he's not living in the same country I do and some things might have changed since he was young). And since in many/most European countries going to Uni is virtually free, the military has to put a lot more on the table than just paying for your studies.

    another issue with military i dk if i'd done good with is you have to constantly be working to get promoted. if you fail to get promoted so many times they wash you out. they constantly have new people joining and so old people need to push up or out. no room for stalled people in military. most my friends and family who joined are out either due to wanting out or failing to climb the ladder. my cousin is 4 years from retirement, hes keep climbing and seeking new opportunities. early on he became crew leader even though wasn't normal rank for that position. hes being shipped to japan even though i guess he doesnt' want to and his gf of 6 years won't get to go, so he'll be year away from her.  like others say you go where they say when they say. personal life be damn, great for single people, sucks if you have relationship. plus side is hes been to germany, uk, japan, korea, middle east etc. i haven't ever left my city much. 
    I see... thank you for the details. It seems that the biggest difference is that someone in the US would definitely take a lot more risks in a very competitive environment and couldn't avoid being deployed, be it in a combat zone or not. But some might see it as a good opportunity to travel.

    To be blunt, I wouldn't be too happy being deployed in a non-combat zone either, the US military doesn't have the best reputation and they often didn't do a great job in establishing the best relationship with the locals.

    What happens to married couples, are they allowed to go together?
  • SlyFoxSlyFox Citizen, Member
    if they married and going to friendly  nation they get to go, but from what i hear you get a limited housing budget to find place near the base. that can cause issues too though. like when covid hit. a bunch of families  got stranded in korea,japan, and germany without all their stuff as it had already been shipped back in preparation  for them deploying home.  they had to figure out where to stay too. not to mention like korea for example could turn into warzone at anytime. imagine having your family stationed there, and you're off on the DMZ when war breaks out. do they get back to base safe, did they get hit in the rocket attacks. if you get pushed back are they caught up in fighting or taken by north korea and used as hostages. i dont know if id want to take my family into that risk. would you? 
  • BenderBender Citizen
    SlyFox said:
    if they married and going to friendly  nation they get to go, but from what i hear you get a limited housing budget to find place near the base. that can cause issues too though. like when covid hit. a bunch of families  got stranded in korea,japan, and germany without all their stuff as it had already been shipped back in preparation  for them deploying home.  they had to figure out where to stay too. not to mention like korea for example could turn into warzone at anytime. imagine having your family stationed there, and you're off on the DMZ when war breaks out. do they get back to base safe, did they get hit in the rocket attacks. if you get pushed back are they caught up in fighting or taken by north korea and used as hostages. i dont know if id want to take my family into that risk. would you? 
    No way I would! But I would never join the military. I did my service because it used to be compulsory and I couldn't leave the country without getting it out of the way.

    Thank you for the information, Sly.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    verity said:
    which branch of the military are you considering join?

    Have you consider civil forces like the coast guard?
    I've been looking at things about the Army lately, but I'm also looking into other branches. I will probably end up choosing something different than the Army if I do try to go into the military.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    SlyFox said:
    if they married and going to friendly  nation they get to go, but from what i hear you get a limited housing budget to find place near the base. that can cause issues too though. like when covid hit. a bunch of families  got stranded in korea,japan, and germany without all their stuff as it had already been shipped back in preparation  for them deploying home.  they had to figure out where to stay too. not to mention like korea for example could turn into warzone at anytime. imagine having your family stationed there, and you're off on the DMZ when war breaks out. do they get back to base safe, did they get hit in the rocket attacks. if you get pushed back are they caught up in fighting or taken by north korea and used as hostages. i dont know if id want to take my family into that risk. would you? 
    I don't know if I'm going to ever get married and I don't know if I'd ever have kids even if I did. If I go into the military I honestly probably won't bother with that. I like being single. lol
  • This is true:

    Most of the time, when the military finds out you have psychological problems, they'll give you a "separation" discharge if they find out during basic training.  This is a neutral discharge, and not dishonorable.   It's almost like you didn't serve in the military at all.

    If it's later, they might give you a "medical" discharge. 

    If you commit a crime, then the "bad conduct" and "dishonorable" discharges come into play.  Even most deserters or AWOL people get an "other than honorable" discharge, rather than a worse discharge.  It's not good---but it's not that bad, either.

    Source:  At one time, I did considerable research on this as a "special interest."
  • If you are unable to tolerate LOTS of criticism and yelling during Basic Training, I would advise you not to join the Military.  It does get better after Basic Training, though.

    I'm not made the military; this is why I didn't join it.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Thank you for that info, Kraftie! That was very helpful. I also expect the yelling and criticism, and usually can handle that stuff (especially if I signed up for it lol), though I certainly have to decide if I am properly prepared for that or not before I join. 
  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen
    Could you do some sort of dry run, like a camp to give a taster?
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    verity said:
    Could you do some sort of dry run, like a camp to give a taster?
    That sounds like a really good idea, I will look into if that's possible for adults. Here we do have "JROTC" classes in middle and high school that give you skills and prepare you for the military, which I was going to take. I couldn't take anything like that in online school though, and at the regular HS I went to my parents wouldn't allow me to since my brother did and they didn't want to redo all of the things with me.
  • If you went to sleepaway camp, I would say it's at least somewhat good preparation for Basic Training.  

    I've been in camps where they do things army-style (though not nearly as bad as the actual army).
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