Many Pilots Flying With Untreated Depression

an over the shoulder shot of a pilot flying a plane

Millions of Americans struggle with clinical depression and, unfortunately, a high percentage of those individuals aren’t getting treatment. While the reasons for not getting help are varied, often the decision results from the fear of jeopardizing one’s career.

Or at least this is the case when it comes to pilots, according to research published in the journal Environmental Health. Researchers found hundreds of pilots currently flying commercial planes may be clinically depressed – and many neglect to seek treatment due to fears of negative career consequences, such as being grounded, said researchers. And of the pilots surveyed, 4.1% reported having suicidal thoughts within the previous two weeks.

The research came in one year after a depressed Germanwings pilot deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps, taking 150 lives.

“Pilots need to know that if they admit to a mental health problem, provided they cooperate and recover, their careers will continue,” said professor Sir Simon Wessely, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. “Most people with depression do get better.”

Spotting the Signs of Depression
You can play a vital role in protecting your mental health by recognizing depression early and taking action to get help. And taking a proactive approach is perhaps even more important if you’re struggling with a dual diagnosis of depression and substance use disorder. In fact, studies show that people with co-occurring disorders are less likely to comply with treatment, leading to more psychiatric hospitalizations, attempted suicides, and other complications.

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Physical pain
  • Memory problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained sadness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies/activities

Getting Help for Depression and Addiction
Using alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism for depression is a dangerous path – and one that can quickly lead to dependence. Providence Treatment prides itself on being a supportive and effective rehab for professionals. To learn more, call (866) 247-3307.

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