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 can struggle adapting to raising kids with one, and sometimes both, parents away from home for long stretches.

Other issues, like regular sleep disruptions, being away from home routines and friends, fiscal pressures at your company, and the cyclical nature of the industry, are all issues that cause stresses unique to aviation.

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.

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