How to Join the Military With Bipolar Disorder

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Mood disorders are stigmatized a lot in modern society, and bipolar disorder is no exception. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and you want to join the military, be prepared for an uphill battle. The first thing you need to do is talk to a recruiter. A good recruiter can tell you about joining the military and what having bipolar disorder could mean for you.

Army soldiers.
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Begin the enlistment process. You need to select a job, meet height and weight standards, prepare to pass an Army physical training test, and study for your Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). You will not sign an enlistment contract until you have met every condition required for enlistment, which your recruiter will discuss with you.

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Listen to your recruiter. Bipolar disorder is an automatic disqualification for enlistment, but your recruiter may be able to coach you on how to limit the disorder's impact on your medical record.

Doctor appointment.
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Talk to your doctor or the person who diagnosed your bipolar disorder. See if you can get the diagnosis reversed or downgraded to a milder diagnosis. Bipolar disorder is not necessarily a permanent condition, so your doctor may be able to declare you cured.

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Submit a waiver. Anyone turned down because he does not qualify for enlistment can file an appeal. This will be reviewed at a higher level by military officials who can overturn a disqualification.

Armed forces.
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Realize that all of the Armed Forces have the same basic enlistment criteria. Although ASVAB score requirements and other small details may vary slightly, all services require that you be of acceptable medical standing when you enlist. Therefore, being turned down for bipolar disorder in one service does not mean you have a chance if you try to enlist in another service.

Desdemona Delacroix has been working as a freelance author in her spare time since 2000, writing short do-it-yourself and current events articles. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Maryland University College, and she occasionally offers tutoring services in writing to undergraduate college students.