Can someone diagnosed with ADHD as a child join the army as an adult?

Rachel Amos

Rachel Amos
Support SEND Kids
19 Oct 2021

Answer Now

A: SenseCheck

  • 0 Yes
  • 1 No
  • 1 Other


  • 25 Aug 2022
  • No


    It is possibly worth mentioning that The Armed Forces have always had a complete exemption from liability with regards to disability  discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010. See Schedule 9, §4(3) Equality Act, though the recent case of T v Ministry of Defence(MoD)  means the MoD can no longer rely on this exemption when it comes to claims made by veterans. 

    Sean Kennedy

    Sean Kennedy
    Talem Law

  • 19 Oct 2021
  • Other


    Other ...:

    The Army website has a list of health conditions that can prevent someone from joining the army. 

    ADHD isn't on their sample list: apply.army.mod.uk/how-to-join/can-i-join/medical 

    However, that doesn't mean that your child will be able to join the army when they get old enough. 

    To join the military, an applicant will need to pass a medical. The medical assessment uses a document called the Joint Service Manual of Medical Fitness. 

    This manual, written in 2019, outlines the military's view on what it refers to as hyperkinetic disorders, including ADHD (Paragraph 41). 

    The manual gives this advice to the professional undertaking the medical: 

    • With ADHD, if the applicant also has a common mental disorder(s), then they should be assessed as medically unfit. Common mental disorders include
      • Depression
      • Generalised anxiety
      • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
      • Panic
      • Phobias
    • If the applicant with ADHD also misuses substances (e.g. alcohol or drugs), they should be found medically unfit.
    • If the applicant with ADHD
      • doesn't also have any common mental disorders
      • doesn't have any substance misuse problems
      • hasn't had behaviour difficulties for at least a year

    ...then they may be found medically fit to join. Evidence should be sought to confirm the individual has been functioning normally for at least a year (e.g. maintenance of regular employment, attendance at school or college).


    The UK Army, Navy and RAF use the same manual, so this answer applies to all three.  


    Finally, if the child no longer presents with the symptoms of ADHD, it might be possible to get reassessed. Speak to your GP. The processes for removing ADHD diagnosis isn't as clear - simply because most of the time it doesn't matter.

    If a child no longer presents with ADHD, there's normally not much health benefit from reassessing the child to say they no longer have ADHD.

    However, speak to your GP about whether it may be possible to request a reassessment if there is a solid reason to do so. 

    Aaron King

    Aaron King
    9000 Lives SEND Consultancy