Can CDL truck drivers take lithium for bipolar disorder?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by kwhite46, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. Rerun8963

    Rerun8963 Road Train Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    i'm just lucky i can AIM...[​IMG]
  2. Hamsterrock74

    Hamsterrock74 Medium Load Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    Marietta Ga
    You should'nt go anywhere near a CMV.The meds alone will be enough,but this job is not going to bring the best out of your disorder.Hell I am in perfect mental health and it can be stressful.If you take the class government funded and it turns out you are disqualified,they make you pay it back.
    123456 Thanks this.
  3. 123456

    123456 Road Train Member

    Oct 22, 2010
    If I remember correctly, there is a med that is legal............

    not nearly as potent.

    let me check......

    besides, seems to be alot of bi-polar drivers out there !!!!!
    Meltom Thanks this.
  4. Meltom

    Meltom Road Train Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    Conversations You Should Have with Your Doctor

    As a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) driver, you know you are driving a vehicle that is capable of causing serious harm. You understand that you are equally responsible for the safety of others, and driving a CMV is very different from driving a personal vehicle. It takes skill, knowledge, and a certain level of physical fitness beyond what is required for a passenger car.
    As a CMV driver, you need to talk to your doctor about the type of work you do and the physical qualification requirements you must meet to safely operate a CMV. Here are some questions and issues to help in this discussion with your doctor.
    1) Tell your doctor what you do, job responsibilities, and the tasks you perform.
    Be sure to include the driving and non-driving tasks, such as the inspections, load redistribution, the need to apply chains, etc. By doing this, your doctor will be able to make a better assessment of your health and performance of your job.
    2) Ask what affects your injury or illness will have on your job.
    What are the direct and indirect impacts on your ability to perform all driving and non-driving tasks safely?
    3) Ask about your treatment.
    Specifically, ask what you must undergo to relieve the symptoms or treat the disease and how the treatment may impact your ability to drive a CMV safely.
    4) Talk to your doctor about alternative treatments.
    Ask about equally effective alternate treatments that will not have an adverse impact on safe driving. Would any of these fit your driving requirements better?
    5) Ask about the medications your doctor prescribes.
    Will the side effects cause sleepiness, fatigue, drowsiness, lack of focus or concentration, or a decreased reaction time? Will the side effects interfere with safe driving?
    6) Inform your doctor of the medications you are taking.
    Identify prescription, non-prescription, dietary supplements, or herbal remedies, and discuss whether the medications will interact and cause any unsafe side effects. Some medications can interact with one another to cause serious adverse reactions and interfere with the effectiveness of another medication. Don't let your treatment be undone because your medication doesn't work properly!
    7) Discuss the extent of treatment and how long you must take your medication.
    8) Ask what you can do to improve your chances for recovery.
    Simple changes like, losing weight, exercising, stop smoking, drinking more water, improving your eating habits, or getting more sleep can make great improvements in your overall health.
    Remember: You are an expert in your work, and your doctor is an expert in his field. When you put your knowledge together, you can come up with a plan designed to meet your individual needs, and keep you and those who share the road with you, safe.
    123456 Thanks this.
  5. infoseek

    infoseek Bobtail Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Lithium will show up in a drug screen. You may need a doc to give you a clearance letter of some kind to state that you are safe to drive a "commercial vehicle". The letter is better if it spells out "commercial vehicle". I am going through this for a different medication. I think the way the new DOT regs are, if your diagnosis and meds are within the last year, you may not be qualified. I believe a person has to have a standing history of the diagnosis and medication management for a while.
    I am not a truck driver but, this is the best I can read the regulation on this.
  6. Sabine in Mo

    Sabine in Mo Medium Load Member

    May 11, 2006
    Fredericktown, MO

    1. Lithium is not going to "show up" on a drug screen. It is not a substance that they test for. Here are the 5 things they do:

    * Amphetamines including Methamphetamine
    * Cocaine Metabolites
    * Marijuana Metabolites
    * Opiates including Codeine, Morphine, and Heroin
    * Phencyclidine ("PCP")

    2. Being Bipolar does not automatically exclude you from driving a truck.
    I realize it says "(9) Has no mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder likely to interfere with his/her ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle safely"

    That said, those of you quoting this, you are not his doctor, neither am I. Being bipolar is an not a deal breaker. There are different severities of this disease, and a lot of people function with or without medicine just fine.
    It does not mean you are a danger to yourself or others, it does not mean you are going to go out there and at the slightest problem go nuts.

    It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, that for the most part to make it really simplistic, gives you mood swings. Some people have it a lot worse than others, while some can function just as well as the next person.

    I just HATE the way everyone assumes that OMG, he or she is mentally ill and can't drive a truck. Or do this, or that. My best friend is bipolar and is not even on meds anymore. She has learned with the help of a mental help professional to recognize the signs of an episode of depression coming on, and how to deal with it. It's not always perfect, but she is a mother, a wife and a great friend, and functions as well as the next person.

    Unless his doctor advises against a career in trucking, there is no reason he can't do that, as long as he has his disease under control with meds, and or talk therapy.
    bottomdumpin, 25(2)+2 and 123456 Thank this.
  7. canuck in da truck

    canuck in da truck Road Train Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    western pa
    i would sooner have the guy on his meds than not---ever work with a guy that is bipolar but wont take the meds?
    ever have a chicken sandwich used against you as a lethal weapon
    in hindsight--funny as hell now--but at the time it was --well it was still pretty funny i guess
    homeskillet and trucker_101 Thank this.
  8. ronin

    ronin Road Train Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    San Antonio, Texas
    Sorry, call it, or me, what you want... but if I have 10 applicants and ONE is bi-polar, I'm looking harder at the 9 that aren't. It would be my money, equipment, family and future on the line, and don't see the need to take chances.

    I won't take someone's word for it.. or their doctor's or whatever, and no one would force me to hire someone with a condition, even borderline, that edges FMCSA rules. As soon as ANYTHING happens, the driver is fried, and so am I. No thanks.

    Just like with guys with DUIs who think they should get a shot at driving - why? Not when 10 other applicants have proven that they CAN drink responsibly.
    homeskillet Thanks this.
  9. Meltom

    Meltom Road Train Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    My brother is bi-polar and so is my dad, I wouldn't want either one of them driving a CMV. Would something bad happen? I don't know, but I know the kinds of decisions they make when they have manic periods and I wouldn't want one of my drivers to make decisions like that.
  10. Sabine in Mo

    Sabine in Mo Medium Load Member

    May 11, 2006
    Fredericktown, MO
    That is the whole point of taking meds, to control those episodes. If their meds don't work, time to go get new ones, if they aren't taking them, shame on them.

    So good for the original poster dealing with his illness. Instead of just ignoring the problem and making everyone else miserable.

    And everyone diagnosed with this is not the same.
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