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ADHD Adults

Having ADD in the Military, is that asking for trouble???

I’m 22 and newly diagnosed.

I started looking into the military because I thought school wasn’t for me. But I also knew that all the problems I had with school weren’t going to just disappear in the military. So I got help to figure out what was “wrong with me”.


I’m so relieved and happy to have my diagnosis, but after all my research,  I realized I that I really do want to join the Navy. I just have no idea if ADD and the Military are a good mix.

Anyone have any input or information?


Hello Becks
Congratulations on your diagnoses, now you know what you have been battling all along.
My wife has a nephew with ADD that went into the Army, and it turned out very good for him. I read somewhere that the military over the years has dealt with so many different disabilities that they are considered experts with ADD and they have personnel that knows how to work with and teach people with ADD. I would not want you to take my word for it, rather I would like to see other people with ADD that are in or were in the military to give you better advice. If you are a Christian I would advise you to take this matter to the lord in prayer, I have prayed for you that you will find the proper path to travel. God bless you and do not give up hope.

Posted by Rancher John on Jan 18, 2014 at 9:15pm

The military is actually perfect for someone with ADD for a whole bunch of reasons. It also comes with some challenges too, obviously.

I just retired after 26 years and I was only diagnosed about 9yrs ago.

I’d say the best period of my career, with regards to ADD, was my initial enlistment. I respond very well to external structure and motivation. That’s probably the best description of what your first 3 or 4 years is. You don’t have to remember anything because you’ve got a sergeant up your ass all of the time telling you where to go, when to be there, what the uniform is…

Later on, I became an officer and as time went on, I became my own ‘sergeant’ more and more…which was obviously pretty difficult. The biggest benefit, though, was my unique perspective and problem solving ability that I believe are both directly due to my ADHD. (they’ve also been detrimental at times as you can imagine.)

Last thing I’ll mention is that the joke about my branch, Infantry, is full of undiagnosed ADHD’ers. Two truisms about the Infantry (or probably any other combat arms branch) are that no two days are ever the same and that the life of an Infantryman is about 99% boredom and 1% excitement and/or terror. You can’t beat it!

Posted by gpatmac on Jan 18, 2014 at 10:43pm

I was 23 when I enlisted in the Army and I served for 4 years.  I wasn’t in combat arms, like gpatmac; I was in the ordnance corps, as a secured communications repairer (31U/35E).  My former MOS might now be part of the signal corps, I’m not sure.  Anyway, gpatmac is right in that your first few years in the military are full of external structure and motivation.  You always know what to do and when to do it.  I think most people with ADD would do well in that kind of environment.  I actually really enjoyed my tour, and if given the chance to do it over, I would make the same choice to enlist.  I had the opportunity to experience things I would have never otherwise experienced, and my days were full of variety.  I found the transition from military life to civilian life to be very difficult.  In all honesty, I did better in the Army than I do now as a civilian.  There were many times when I thought of going back into the Army, but I never did.  In retrospect, I probably should have.

I think you would do just fine if you enlisted in the Navy.  Good luck!

Posted by csiagent32 on Jan 19, 2014 at 12:55am

The one concern is the medication, but aside from that, you would probably be well suited for the military.  Structure in all forms is provide, especially in the early years. 

In your situation, I think I would talk to the recruiter openly and see what he/she has to say.  The Navy is highly structured and they have the greatest schools for specialties of any branch of the military services. 

The training is rigorous.  The discipline has been beneficial to many sailors over the years. 

Pay close attention when the recruiter is discussing your test scores and where your scores place you in the occupation choices.  Pick one that suits you.  If you do not know which direction you want to take, I would take some online career assessments before you talk to the recruiter.  Then compare your best choices of career with the choices that the Navy (or other service) has to offer.

Let us know how you do!

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Jan 19, 2014 at 10:26am

My DAD has severe ADHD and being in the military really benefitted him.

Posted by amaxfield on Jan 21, 2014 at 1:44am

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