What is Aviation Psychiatry?

Commercial airline pilots have demanding careers. Junior pilots accumulate student debt and then begin physically and financially demanding work. Military pilots leave a long, structured career and join large corporations with a new hierarchy. Women pilots join a culture historically controlled by men. Aviators with children, whether men or women, must adapt to raising kids with demands most other professionals just cannot understand. Other issues, like regular sleep disruptions, being away from family and friends, fiscal pressures at your company, and the cyclical nature of the industry, are all issues that cause stresses unique to the industry.

Aviation psychiatry is not a formal subspecialty of psychiatry. It is a subset of general and addiction psychiatry that is practiced by a physician familiar with the career of a pilot and knowledgeable of the interfaces among pilot health, company policies, aerospace safety, and federal regulation.