ADHD captain

Hello I am 16 years old and am looking to become a USCG certified captain but I have ADHD and take meds for it, and I don’t know if this would be an unreasonable goal. I do not really need my meds but I do take them regularly, if I can become a captain would I have to make any changes?

Just push through and make it happen. If you can work yourself off the meds do so. Make sure the meds are working to your benifit. Don’t let them slow you down.

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I was diagnosed and medicated when I was your age. Used the help of the meds to build some solid study skills and went off it when I entered the academy. It can be done and the adhd can be managed without meds. You just have to want it bad enough. Everyone is a “little bit” adhd


My son was diagnosed with ADHD and on the Austim spectrum around 3. My wife put him on a special diet and she was able to avoid ever having him put on medication. She put him on a dairy free/gluten free/soy free/ and generally crap free diet. Our son acted feral he was so impulsive and hyper and even he still has some issues is manageable without medicine. My wife eats paleo and it avoids all those things and more. maybe you could do that because in my opinion it is easier than going gluten free/dairy free because there is a lot less guess work. I eat mostly paleo when I am home and it’s not bad at all. Our son is 13 now and the wife homeschools him and he leads a normal life. We have yet to try him on caffeine for worry of stunting his growth. Wife is also sort of ADHD and copious amounts of caffeine seem to help her. She was a straight A/B honor roll in school and had a 3.98 GPA in college being only an avid coffee drinker which most captains are anyways. I think you can do it. There are also supplements you can take that won’t mess you up with getting your documents that are safe to take at sea. My wife also had our son taking supplements too. From what she explained is often the ADHD brain is starved of nutrients. Might be something worth further investigation for you.

I personally don’t want my life in the hands of someone who is on Amphetamines.

According to the Coast Guard, mariners are prohibited from taking “psychotropic medication” or having a condition requiring the “return to the use of psychotropic medicine”.
Psychotropic medication is defined as “capable of altering emotion or behavior.” Drugs that fall underneath this category commonly used in the treatment of ADHD include Adderal, Cylert, Dexedrine and Ritalin.

My recommendation would be to discuss your situation with your medical practitioner (doctor, nurse ect.) who prescribed you the drugs. Vocalize your career ambitions and ask for their advice on the safety of going off medication. Diagnosed ADHD on its own is not a disqualifying condition. However, you may want to prove that you have been off medications for an extended amount of time (6+ months) and do not need to return to them in order to avoid scrutiny on your application.

I commend you for having ambitions at such a young age and recognizing the issues in becoming medically qualified. I wish you best of luck with your endeavors.

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I would like to correct my previous post. In it, I recommended that you go off medication. After researching the topic extensively over the past 2 days I have found written and anecdotal evidence to suggest that waivers can be given out to mariners allowing the use of ADHD medication.
I have posted the article I wrote concerning the subject in the following link.

I apologize for making a rash assessment and I hope my revised article is of greater use to you.


My previous statement was harsh. It contributed nothing to the conversation. It’s great that OP at his/her age is considering a career choice and weighing possible road blocks. It shows both initiative and forethought, two very excellent traits.


thank you

I have ADHD and i used ritalin for years. I am 2nd officer at a LPG tanker now. Well ıts no problem, except ı have some trouble about starting or managing my duties. But there iş no big problem. I have been working for more than 16 months :slight_smile:

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hello, As everyone knows It cannot be cured but you can live a good and healthy life with ADHD. A becoming captain can help you live a better life, But taking medication is your need. You shouldn’t skip them. It’s hard to accept but with time you will learn how to live a good life with this.

I have met many captains, mates, engineers, ABs, port captains, port engineers, etc. with obvious ADHD , and few others that are simply “batshit crazy.” Some are both.

Some get by without any formal diagnosis or meds.

I’ve had some that I’ve had to remind to take their meds. I’ve had others that I’ve had to tell to cut back on their meds.

This is one of those problems that Masters have to manage while they are sitting around all day.

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