Should I Go Off My Mental Health Meds To Become A Truck Driver?

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John S.'s Comment
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My psychiatrist has me on Effexor, Zyrepxa, Buspar and Wellbutrin. I don't believe I need the medications now, but they do make my life easier. However, she will not sign anything for me. She said no one else has ever asked her to do it and she wasn't comfortable with it. It sounds like to me that the trucking industry is against medications for the most part. Should I just go off all my mental health meds to pass the DOT physical? Also, some of the meds I take cause a false positive with drug testing.

I tried to find a new psychiatrist, but no one responded. I have crap insurance.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

What's the reasoning for your need of all these prescriptions? Has to be a reason (real or not) that a doctor felt the need to prescribe all of these.

Secondly, have you ever been "off" all of these previously?

There's nobody on here that can tell you to stop taking your prescribed medication. That is between you and your doctors to figure out.

John S.'s Comment
member avatar
What's the reasoning for your need of all these prescriptions? Has to be a reason (real or not) that a doctor felt the need to prescribe all of these.

I was diagnosed with depression with psychotic features. Basically, I had depression with auditory hallucinations. I still have some depression, but no auditory hallucinations now. I also suffered from anxiety, which was what the buspar was for.

Secondly, have you ever been "off" all of these previously?

I've spent most of my life off such medications.

There's nobody on here that can tell you to stop taking your prescribed medication. That is between you and your doctors to figure out.

What I mean is: is going off such medications the only way I'm going to manage to become a truck driver? Like can I even pass a DOT physical if my prescribing doctor won't give me a note? I've already told my psychiatrist that I might have to go off the medications if she won't give me a note.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Any prescriptions will need to be listed on the physical examination form that is required for a DOT physical. Thinking of myself from the viewpoint as a carrier or an insurance company, I would be hesitant to hire/cover someone after your previous explanation.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

My psychiatrist has me on Effexor, Zyrepxa, Buspar and Wellbutrin. I don't believe I need the medications now, but they do make my life easier. However, she will not sign anything for me. She said no one else has ever asked her to do it and she wasn't comfortable with it. It sounds like to me that the trucking industry is against medications for the most part. Should I just go off all my mental health meds to pass the DOT physical? Also, some of the meds I take cause a false positive with drug testing.

I tried to find a new psychiatrist, but no one responded. I have crap insurance.

NEVER go off your meds, especially all at once, without the doctor's guidance. Some of those medications HAVE to be tapered off.

No, the trucking industry is not against medications for the most part. However, there are medications that do have side effects that the DOT has to be cautious about. Mental health meds definitely are in that category. My brother was on lithium for 25 yrs, and three or four other mental health meds and he had a serious talk with his doctor. They tapered him off and his doctor followed him for a year to see how he functioned without them. He managed to do well, but being older (60 y/o) also had a lot to do with it.

You need to have patience and talk to your doctor about how serious you are and see if there's other medications that you can take and drive. Now you need to be aware that even if your doctor put you on acceptable medicine, a company can still deny you because they consider the medication unacceptable. You have to accept it for what it is, a risk to a company should you be involved in an accident. With lawyers being sue happy, companies are cautious in accepting all mental health meds.

Laura

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
John S.'s Comment
member avatar
NEVER go off your meds, especially all at once, without the doctor's guidance. Some of those medications HAVE to be tapered off.

I'm well aware of needing to taper off, and I've already confronted my psychiatrist with what I might do. She's not particularly helpful.

Lithium is a mood stabilizer and is generally prescribed to people that are bipolar. I'm not. Is your brother a truck driver?

Anyway, none of my medications are prohibited, but it's passing the DOT physical that I'm concerned about, since my psychiatrist won't give me a note. After that I have to convince a company to hire me, which might also be harder with these meds. Almost all mental health medications have potential side effects that someone shouldn't drive while experiencing. That seems to translate to the industry being against them.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
John S.'s Comment
member avatar
Thinking of myself from the viewpoint as a carrier or an insurance company, I would be hesitant to hire/cover someone after your previous explanation.

the FMCSA actually studied it, and found no evidence that people with psychotic disorders had an increased crash risk. So, even when I was dealing with psychosis symptoms, I wasn't necessarily more dangerous on the road. (Not to mention I don't suffer from it anymore) https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Psychiatric-Executive-Summary-prot.pdf

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

NEVER go off your meds, especially all at once, without the doctor's guidance. Some of those medications HAVE to be tapered off.

double-quotes-end.png

I'm well aware of needing to taper off, and I've already confronted my psychiatrist with what I might do. She's not particularly helpful.

Lithium is a mood stabilizer and is generally prescribed to people that are bipolar. I'm not. Is your brother a truck driver?

It sounds like you have all the answers already. You did not indicate that you knew to taper off your meds but that you wanted to stop them for your physical. So I guess I'm not understanding why you need your psychiatrist to write a note, when it's not necessary but it's what you want her to do.

Yes my brother drove truck for about 8 years but had to come off the road due to his wife having fairly constant seizures. Now he's driving different size pickups, pulling flatbed trailers with different Kubota tractors, mowers, etc and yes he does need a CDLA for that on occasion and yes he goes through weigh stations and has been pulled in and inspected.

Laura

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

You state you don't need the meds ..it is probably because they are working. You state you don't think you are depressed anymore.... Have you considered that the stress from trucking ....which is an amazingly stressful job ... Could jeopardize your mental health?

Even if you come off the meds, you will be asked what you have taken in the past 3 years. Meaning of you stopped today you wouldn't be hireable for years. Please stay on your meds. For your safety and that of others.

John S.'s Comment
member avatar
So I guess I'm not understanding why you need your psychiatrist to write a note, when it's not necessary but it's what you want her to do.

That's the part I don't know. Do I need a note if I stay on the meds or not? Because I can't get a note.

Thanks.

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