Medical student with past mental illness/ substance abuse

Hello all,
I have recently been accepted to an MD program and wish to join the national guard, but would like to know my chances of getting clearance before I get my hopes up. 7 years ago, when I was 18, I was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility because I took a hallucinogen and had an adverse reaction to it. Psychiatrists thought I had bipolar disorder, and I was treated with medication for about 2 years until I switched psychiatrists. The new psychiatrist says I did not have bipolar disorder and that it was an adverse reaction to the hallucinogen. I got off of the medication, got my life together, and have gotten myself into my states top medical school. I have not drank alcohol or done a drug in about 7 years and have not taken psychiatric medication in 5 years and have also not been in treatment.

Have never been arrested or anything.

Do you think there is a shot I get a SECRET level clearance? Is there anything I can do to improve my chances such as meeting with a government psychiatrist prior to submitting my sf86

Based on the information you have provided there is no reason why you would not be eligible for a security clearance as long as the medical professionals that treated corroborate your explanation and you are forthright and honest on the SF-86 and provide as much detail as possible.

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Thank you for the prompt response. I am curious about the “doctors corroborating my story” part. How would this work when I haven’t seen the physicians in 7 years and they would have no idea who I am other than my records. Would I be able to get a chance to have them re evaluate me? Should I try and find the physchiatrists now and have them evaluate me/ right a letter on my behalf? I am cautious about making an appointment for a consult because then I would have to say I saw a psychiatrist very recently.

Basically, who is the mental health expert who makes the decision whether or not I can be trusted with clearance and is that based only on past records or will they examine me in my current state?

There is no need for you to do anything except ensure the contact information for the medical professional is accurate and up to date. They are given a form that asks three questions about the diagnosis, prognosis, and whether there is any reason why you could not be trusted with national security.

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Understood, but the issue is that the mental health professional from the hospital does not even know who I am anymore and made a wrong diagnosis over 7 years ago. The only information they would be going on is completely out dated. Is there no way to solve this problem/ get re-evaluated? The doctor in the hospital who treated me 7 years ago is not the same doctor who treated me 5 years ago and realized I was misdiagnosed.

Thank you in advance for the response, and sorry for the constant follow-up questions but my situation seems pretty unique.

The question asks "in the last 7 years…so anything beyond that timeframe is not required to be listed.

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Marko is right, plus you get the benefit of being under youthful indiscretion. My department has over 65 members, many over age 60 who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s trying every substance possible. They explain it simply was the culture at the time and everyone believed you could take these substances with no ill effects until they realized there is no free lunch and it all has an effect. They stopped, got on with their lives and lead law abiding, drug free lives. All of them cleared and passed a Poly to boot. Be open, honest and discuss it freely if you want it off your mind but Marko points out it beyond the 7 year reporting requirement and you did not possess a clearance at time of use, nor were you in law enforcement or an officer of the court. By the time you complete medical school and internships, another 7 years, it will be roughly 14 years since the one time use.

This brings up something that I have been thinking about…will an investigator ever ask you during the interview about anything outside of the 7 year window? (or whatever the window happens to be on the particular eqip question).


Investigators stay on script when going over the SF-86 questions and expand the scope only when potential issues are uncovered. Of course the catch-all is at the end when asked if there is anything else that you wish to add that might be relevant to your background investigation,

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Been cleared since 82. Never asked anything outside the window. I have had a polygrapher infer I should discuss all things regardless of date. Fell for that the first time. Having 4 under my belt now…not so much. Be clear on the verbiage of the question. If it is a 10 year question, answer for ten years to the date. Same with 7. Be careful if you ask questions such as “is this a 7 year or 10 year question?” That begs the question if you have significant activity outside the reporting window that may still be relevant.

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Got it.

Thanks Marko & Amberbunny!