Obtaining your FAA medical with past anxiety is not impossible. If you are like a lot of people, you may have had anxiety at one point or another in your life. If your history of anxiety was limited to a short period of time, achieving medical certification with the FAA may be relatively straight forward. If your anxiety involved a more involved clinical presentation, medical certification is still not out of the question. Typically, whether you can obtain your FAA medical with past anxiety comes down to the level of risk for recurrence of symptoms.
If your anxiety was limited in time, you responded well to medication treatment (if any), and medication was discontinued, the required elements for treatment may be relatively simple. The FAA will likely want to review your previous treatment records, as well as a letter from your current physician regarding your status. Many times, a psychiatric evaluation can help alleviate any concerns the FAA may have regarding your current status and even facilitate a faster disposition regarding your medical certification. Be careful submitting medical records to the FAA! Always make sure you know everything that is in your records and how that information may affect the FAA’s review of your file.
A history of anxiety, when mixed with other clinical concerns, such as panic attacks, psychiatric hospitalizations, and/or other diagnoses such as major depressive disorder, will almost always warrant an evaluation by a psychiatrist. A psychiatric evaluation can give the FAA better insight as to whether the clinical picture presented in your treatment records will present a risk for recurrence of symptoms now or in the future. Ultimately, the more severe your symptoms were at the time of treatment, the more concerned the FAA will be relative to the risk for recurrence of symptoms. With a psychiatric evaluation, and in some cases, a neuropsychological evaluation, you have the ability to provide the FAA with a better perspective on the aeromedical significance of your past anxiety, as well as your current, aeromedical risk.
Why involve a FAA attorney in your FAA medical application? Despite what you may hear from your AME, the medical certification process is more so a legal process than a medical process. Ensuring that your doctor is developing the proper documentation regarding your past anxiety, as needed, can be a difficult task. To that end, everything that is submitted to the FAA (i.e. records, statements, evaluations, etc.) goes into your airman medical file. This file is what the FAA then utilizes to evaluate whether you are eligible to hold a medical certificate. If you are later denied and wish to appeal that denial, your airman medical file becomes “Exhibit A” before the NTSB or upon reconsideration by the Federal Air Surgeon. So, a FAA attorney can evaluate your records, prepare a plan for best presentation of your case to the AME or FAA, and best argue your medical eligibility to the Federal Air Surgeon, with an eye for potential, future appeal. Furthermore, if your medical documentation is as strong as possible upon initial submission, in doing so, hopefully, you will avoid unnecessary delay. Also, if you have failed to report your past anxiety on your FAA medical application, a FAA attorney can give you counsel on how to rectify your omission.
If you are concerned about reporting your past anxiety to the FAA, call the FAA attorneys at The Ison Law Firm. We are happy to evaluate your case and discuss with you a plan for presenting your case to your AME or the FAA. Aviation law is all we do. Nothing else.