Pilots face specific issues that are unique to their profession and must be considered in the design of any addiction treatment plan. In fact, pilots probably work in the most scrutinized and regulated profession in the United States. The concern for public safety is the primary mission of the FAA, and there are many restrictions and rules that have a noteworthy impact on a pilot’s career. These regulations are complicated, and only specially trained clinicians are able to help pilots navigate their way through this labyrinth.
The Addiction Treatment Program for Pilots at Talbott Recovery addresses not only the medical, psychological and social aspects of the disease of chemical dependence, but it is also the most efficient pathway for a pilot to return to work. The program is directed by senior clinicians who thoroughly understand the disease of addiction and the needs of the pilot, their employer and the FAA.
Talbott Recovery’s Addiction Treatment Program for Pilots
There are several components that make up this program tailored specifically to those who have a career in the cockpit. From assessing needs and offering a customized program with support from professional peers to providing ongoing care and meeting employer and FAA requirements, we cover it all.
Assessment and Evaluation
Pilots who clearly meet medical or FAA criteria for requiring treatment for a substance use disorder may be referred directly to the treatment phase of care. In many instances, however, the data may support the need for a comprehensive assessment instead, to determine the nature, scope and breadth of the issues. The assessment team, comprised of an attending physician, psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, aviation psychologist, physician assistant, nurse and clinical coordinator, identify issues facing the pilot and provide diagnostic opinions and prescriptive treatment. The recommendations conform to FAA guidelines and specifications for diagnosis and care, which are essential to the pilot’s ultimate return to the flight deck.
Assessments are typically conducted across 72 hours, during which time the pilot receives a thorough physical examination including blood work, comprehensive psychiatric and addiction medicine assessments, and collection of data from various resources that allow for collaboration of the presenting concerns. Central to the assessment process are the comprehensive neuropsychological and aviation psychology examinations. The pilot’s performance is compared to aviation normative standards, which allows for a very strong opinion as to impact of the substances used upon the pilot’s critical cognitive capacities. Once the above data is collected, the assessment team meets with the pilot and other interested parties and shares the results. A diagnosis, if supported by the findings, is discussed, and treatment recommendations are offered.
Continuing Care for Pilots
The process of designing appropriate continuing care plans begins on the day of the pilot’s admission to treatment. These plans include referral to a Senior AME if needed, a professional monitoring group located as close to home as possible, individual and family counseling, an aviation psychologist, and any other specialists that may be needed. There is ongoing liaison with the pilot’s employer and, upon request, referral to a HIMS-qualified psychiatrist and psychologist. There is also quick response to requests for the records required for the special issuance process.
Our Family Program
The Family Services Department at Talbott Recovery provides patients and families with support and education on the disease of addiction, cross addiction and the impact on the family. The Family Program is designed to assess the family’s needs, educate them about chemical dependence and offer ongoing family support during and after the patient’s treatment. Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and its impact is felt by more than just the one with a substance abuse issue. The Family Program acknowledges that and provides the first step for many addicted families to move toward healing.
Pilot Addiction Program Staff
Our programs are facilitated by licensed master’s level therapists and board certified psychiatrists with expertise in treating addiction and associated psychological problems. Our Pilot Program Team includes medical doctors and other professionals, including a clinical and aviation psychologist. Each of our clinicians thoroughly understands the disease of addiction and is adept at addressing the needs of not just the pilot but the employer and the FAA as well.
Regaining Professional Status
Talbott Recovery’s goal is to assist our patients in returning to work in their chosen profession, providing it is safe for the patient and the public. Using the vast knowledge acquired by years of treating professionals, key members of each patient’s treatment team offer expertise in licensure and employment issues. The existing relationships we have with each state board and professional health program allows patients to have a smooth transition back to the workplace upon completion of the Addiction Treatment Program for Pilots.
Covering the Cost of Pilot Substance Abuse Treatment
We can work with you to confirm insurance benefits and discuss treatment costs. Call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’re happy to help answer any questions you have.