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Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners

Decision Considerations - Aerospace Medical Dispositions
Item 47. Psychiatric Conditions - Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorders are considered on a continuum as part of a spectrum of disorders where there are significant alternations in mood. Generally, only one episode of manic or hypomanic behavior is necessary to make the diagnosis. Please note that cyclothymic disorder is part of this spectrum. Even if the bipolar disorder does not have accompanying symptoms that reach the level of psychosis, the disorder can be so disruptive of judgment and functioning (especially mania) as to pose a significant risk to aviation safety. Impaired judgment does occur even in the milder form of the disease.

All applicants with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder must be denied or deferred.

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