No meds in the military

A letter-writer has just discovered that he can’t pursue his dream of joining the military because of his medication for OCD and anxiety.

Can our elder help?


Dear EWC

I (18 years old, male) was just made aware that, due to being on medication for OCD and anxiety, I am not eligible to join the military. What do I do now? I guess I should’ve realized this earlier, and I regret not realizing it, but I didn’t, and I feel lost. I always wanted to join the military, originally the Navy Seals, when I was very young, then the navy, and now the Coast Guard. My grandfather had always told me stories, some good, some bad, and some sad, about his experience in the army when he served during Vietnam, and I just always wanted to serve. I am currently going to school at a state university, and I finally got a chance to have my first conversation with a member of the Coast Guard who works with recruitment. We contacted over email, and he asked me a series of questions, and I responded, and he replied that due to being on medicine for OCD and anxiety, I am not fit for military service. Don’t get me wrong, I understand, and, like I said, I should’ve realized this, but I’m just pretty bummed and really don’t know what to do now. I’d appreciative all and any advice you could provide me.


Papa-Smokey replies

Unfortunately, sometimes our career aspirations are not attainable for one reason or another. I would suggest you meet with a guidance/career counselor at the school you’re attending to see if you can find a niche that you would enjoy. Perhaps, if you would find it satisfying, you can find a career where you can work for a civilian company that supports the military. There are quite a few civilian companies that provide an array of services through contracts with the military including defense, intelligence, environmental, energy, medical, etc.

The other possibility is that perhaps over time you may find that you no longer need medications for OCD and anxiety. Many people need medications on a short-term rather than a long-term basis. Perhaps there are alternative medications you can take that would not make you ineligible for medical service, perhaps there are certain functions you can perform for the military that would allow you to take these medications. I would suggest you explore these possibilities by talking to different people in different branches of the military.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. Good luck!



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