Ritalin and military service

Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 06:49 pm
I was boning up on my anti-Ritalin argument in preperation for my <sigh> yearly November conference in which the school tries to convince me to drug my kid.

I came across some information that I have not been completely able to verify: that having taken methylphenidates (like Ritalin) after the age of 12 can bar people from military service.

Does anyone know if this is really true?

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Type: Question • Score: 15 • Views: 8,889 • Replies: 35

Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 06:55 pm
I have some experience with teachers and ritalin, you don't need to justify; you only need to say (with authority) NO. I assume the yearly conference is for an IEP which is a legal document.
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Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 07:12 pm
I have this pdf file googled with a limited search for .mil (US military sites) and it appears that methylphenidates (like Ritalin) are considered controlled substances.

Table I"1
Drugs designated as controlled substances
Cocaine: Cocaine
Amphetamines: Benzedrine, Biphetamine, Desoxyn,
Phenemetrazine: Preludin
Methylphenidate: Ritalin

I haven't seen the golden goose egg that says that the use of Ritalin will bar enlistment but it's not an easy read. I hate reading large PDF files. Especially one filled to the rim with legalese.


I'll keeping scanning until I find a valid section that might explain the designation and its consequences on enlistment.
Green Witch
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 07:17 pm
I don't know the answer to your question, Boom, but you might want to watch this next week on PBS:

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Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 07:18 pm
The document is rather old. It was unclassified in 1988. I wouldn't waste any further time on it. The policies have had to been changed countless times since then.
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Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 07:37 pm
Oh I know I don't have to dys but I thought I would use my soapbox opportunity to educate about the long term consequences for children who are "diagnosed" by the school with ADD -- like being unable to get insurance, (maybe) being barred from military service (Mo is greatly influenced by Major General Brother and is obsessed with the military), the effect of dopamine pathways in the brain, etc.

I like to go into these conference armed with an argument (last year I took in piles of info on non-verbal learning disorders --something Mo has been diagnosed as having). The year before that it was piles of information on infant neglect, carticosteroids and hyper-vigilance.

I like to make it clear I'm not a wimpy mommy.

Thanks tsarstephan! I'll take a look at that even though you think it's outdated -- the military is slow to change. It is really hard to pin down a definitive answer on this.

I'll look for that show, Green Witch but I think it has more to do with anti-psychotics than with ADD meds. I actually do know a 7 year old who is on risperdal -- the same drug they gave my dad when he was dying with Alzheimer's. Spooky stuff.
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 07:37 pm
May 2008 PDF file:

In addition, recent changes in
the accession standards of the U.S. military eliminated the
prohibition against mild attention-deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD)12
and increased enlistments of applicants
with relatively low educational attainment.

Page 11

I think according to this 2008 document it off handedly mentions that persons with ADHD are no longer barred from enlistment. It could be implied that those persons taking Ritalin won't be barred as well.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Citalopram (Celexa®)
Escitalopram (Lexapro®)
Fluoxetine (Prozac®)
Sertraline (Zoloft®)
Paroxetine (Paxil®, Pexeva®)

Diazepam (Valium®)
Lorazepam (Ativan®)
Alpralozam (Xanax®)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Duloxetine (Cymbalta®)

Serotonin-2 antagonist/reuptake-inhibitors (SARIs)
Trazodone (Desyrel®)

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
Amitriptyline (Elavil®)
Nortriptyline (Pamelor®)

Clonazepam (Klonopin®)
Gabapentin (Neurontin®)
Divalproex (Depakote®)
Lamotrigine (Lamictal®)
Levitiracetam (Keppra®)

Attention-defi cit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Atomoxetine (Strattera®)
Methylphenidate (Ritalin®, Concerta®)
Modafi nil (Provigil®)
Mixed amphetamines (Adderall®)

Atypical antipsychotics
Quetiapine (Seroquel®)
Resperidone (Risperdal®)
Temazepam (Restoril®)
Triazolam (Halcion®)
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 07:40 pm
Ohhhh interesting indeed.

That was about the same time the military started readmitting felons and other "undesirables" back into the ranks.

I wonder if that will change again when we don't need quite so many soldiers.
Green Witch
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 08:04 pm
Did you see the one on ADHD? I thought it was new, but it was from a previous season and is now on-line:

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Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 08:29 pm
Wouldn't a simple No suffice, boomer? What the school is proposing and
what you ultimately do is up to you, and only you.
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 09:01 pm
Any parent who is dealing with this issue needs to be an observer in the classroom at least 4 days. Watch the child and see if there is distractibility , inattentiveness, and /or inability to start or finish classroom work. The child may be bored, anxious, depressed, or there is some other issue going on. Often kids act one way in school and differently at home.

Hope you and the school can find a solution. The kid must be miserable. Remember, this can be a brain disease and can be dealt with by using proper medication(s). Don't dismiss anything unless you get an evaluation.
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 10:12 pm
Obviously a simple "no" is not enough. If it were I wouldn't have this conversation with the school several times a year.
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Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 10:18 pm
My kid is far from miserable.

He has had a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary evaluation that found he does NOT have ADD.

Besides, ADD is not a "classroom" problem. For a proper diagnosis is must effect the child's life in at least three different areas. My son spends a maximum of 30 hours per week in the classroom. He spends the other 138 hours each week with me.

The idea that a parent has to observe the classroom for "at least 4 days" is absolutely ridiculous.
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Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2009 11:17 pm
Funny how standards change when you need more troops.
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2009 12:28 am
This may be usefull.


Although ADHD is the most diagnosed childhood condition in the US, the prevalence of
ADHD in Australian children is reported to be between 2.3 -6% (NH&MRC).
Work in the United States by Rapaport
and Yelich has confirmed that ADHD may be caused by developmental delay but has
dismissed the popular opinion that response to medication is proof of the existence of
ADHD. In fact, they found that all children respond to stimulant medication with
increased self-control and attention. So, response to psychostimulants is not proof of a
biological cause of ADHD.

Research of Sroufe et al showed that changing support for caregivers and changing the
relationship status of these children with caregivers were the most consistent predictors of
change in child behaviour problems. As the primary caregiver's relationship stabilised or
destabilised, the child's manifestation of attentional and hyperactivity problems changed.

Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2009 12:43 am
Boomer I am ADD and none of those rotten medicines worked for me. The most effective med I took was Wellbutron (sp). The most important factor, if your child is ADD is to sit down and talk to him about the condition and reinforce what he has to do to make his life to work in the clssroom.

I totally detest pills and firmly believe in aspirin. An aspirin a day will retard cancer.
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2009 01:13 am
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2009 01:27 am
Your best bet would be to contact a military recruiter for that information. Times and standards constantly change for enlistment and they will be the most knowledgeable resource on your topic.
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Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2009 05:26 am
boomerang wrote:
I thought I would use my soapbox opportunity to educate about the long term consequences for children who are "diagnosed" by the school with ADD

You may just have taught me something I didn't yet know about America (and I hope I misunderstood and you didn't). Are schools really in the business of diagnosing medical conditions before they drug their students? This is not done by independent doctors? I never liked the Ritalin-in-schools story, but this freaks me out.
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2009 07:09 am
Thanks for that, dadpad! I'm still reading it but it has some really great information!
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