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Don’t Drive Depressed?

A small research study suggests a link between depression and poorer driving test scores. In fact, there also seemed to be a dose-response relationship with anti-depressants. In other words, the study subjects on the highest doses of anti-depressents got the lowest driving test scores.

Since depression can impair one’s concentration - the link is certainly plausible. I thought it was interesting that anti-depressants seemed to increase the risk for low scores. One would hope that those on anti-depressants were less symptomatic, but it’s also possible that the dosage correlated somewhat with the severity of the disease.

Drivers with conditions that could impact their driving abilities (such as epilepsy or stroke) should report their impairments to the DMV. Will the list of reportable impairments eventually include depression? I doubt it, but it is reportable to the Vehicle Licensing Agency in England.

On the spectrum of risk factors for sloppy driving, I wonder where depression stands?

  • Cell phone usage
  • Advanced age
  • Driving in a foreign country
  • Driving while eating/drinking
  • Driving while intoxicated

It would be neat to see these risk factors compared to one another on a graph. Has anyone seen such a thing?This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.


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8 Responses to “Don’t Drive Depressed?”

  1. RH Host Pia says:

    Wow, that is an interesting study, scary but still interesting.

    I have never thought about anti-depressants effecting my driving but I have to be honest and say something has effected it :(

    I think it is time to talk to my doctor.

    Thank you so much for sharing this information!

  2. www.ZXC.ca-MedicalBlogs says:

    What about driving under the influence of sleep deprivation?

    A depressed surgical resident driving home after being on call, who is talking on a cell phone after a couple of beers could be a problem.

  3. www.ZXC.ca-MedicalBlogs says:

    What about driving under the influence of sleep deprivation?

    A depressed surgical resident driving home after being on call, who is talking on a cell phone after a couple of beers could be a problem.

  4. RH Host Pia says:

    Wow, that is an interesting study, scary but still interesting.

    I have never thought about anti-depressants effecting my driving but I have to be honest and say something has effected it :(

    I think it is time to talk to my doctor.

    Thank you so much for sharing this information!

  5. Motivation says:

    This article has appeared in every journal and e-alert that exists over the past ten days; and is based upon a small, very limited, and convoluted study.The study does say that there were no distinctions made for side effects from anti-depressant (or anti-anxiety) medication (such as drowsiness) or for other conditions that may have been present in the “depressed population.”

    I just have to weigh in on this issue and I am going to do so very heavily.I have life time, treatment resistant (refractory) depression and anxiety (GAD, SAD) with panic components.I have worked for 27 years as a Human Resources Executive and as a Masters level Mental Health Clinician (Psychology Associate).My B.A. is in Labor Relations from Penn State.My Masters is in Psychology from Harvard University.My doctoral work was completed at Boston College and Boston University.I have been driving since the age of 16 and I am now 54.My driving record is spotless and yes, I take extreme care if I feel that on certain days I am not as alert as on other days.There usually is a variance, regardless of the population being scrutinized (studied). There are too many uncontrollable factors in the research design for any definitive and absolute statements to be made that can be tied directly and only to depression (such as lack of sleep, work fatigue, thought distraction, etc.).

    Depression does affect focus, awareness, memory, coordination and concentration.This also occurs in about 100+ other types of medical disorders and diseases, which would also affect driving.I want to emphasize the limitations of this type or research reporting because I would not want to see a “witch hunt” regarding any type of mental disease and the skills and capabilities that are necessary to be a safe driver.It is very important for anyone who experiences medication side effects or symptoms from medical conditions that may directly affect their driving to take extra care when they are on the road.They need to remain mindful of every component within the comprehensive task of driving and not become mindless, which blurs those components and puts the mind on automatic pilot.This applies to every driver.If the side effects or symptoms are interfering with their ability to drive then they should have a frank and comprehensive discussion with their doctor about whether or not they should continue to drive.

    In all fairness the researchers do point out the study’s weaknesses.I could go on, but after reading about this study so many times…enough said!Thank you for your read!

     

  6. Motivation says:

    This article has appeared in every journal and e-alert that exists over the past ten days; and is based upon a small, very limited, and convoluted study.The study does say that there were no distinctions made for side effects from anti-depressant (or anti-anxiety) medication (such as drowsiness) or for other conditions that may have been present in the “depressed population.”

    I just have to weigh in on this issue and I am going to do so very heavily.I have life time, treatment resistant (refractory) depression and anxiety (GAD, SAD) with panic components.I have worked for 27 years as a Human Resources Executive and as a Masters level Mental Health Clinician (Psychology Associate).My B.A. is in Labor Relations from Penn State.My Masters is in Psychology from Harvard University.My doctoral work was completed at Boston College and Boston University.I have been driving since the age of 16 and I am now 54.My driving record is spotless and yes, I take extreme care if I feel that on certain days I am not as alert as on other days.There usually is a variance, regardless of the population being scrutinized (studied). There are too many uncontrollable factors in the research design for any definitive and absolute statements to be made that can be tied directly and only to depression (such as lack of sleep, work fatigue, thought distraction, etc.).

    Depression does affect focus, awareness, memory, coordination and concentration.This also occurs in about 100+ other types of medical disorders and diseases, which would also affect driving.I want to emphasize the limitations of this type or research reporting because I would not want to see a “witch hunt” regarding any type of mental disease and the skills and capabilities that are necessary to be a safe driver.It is very important for anyone who experiences medication side effects or symptoms from medical conditions that may directly affect their driving to take extra care when they are on the road.They need to remain mindful of every component within the comprehensive task of driving and not become mindless, which blurs those components and puts the mind on automatic pilot.This applies to every driver.If the side effects or symptoms are interfering with their ability to drive then they should have a frank and comprehensive discussion with their doctor about whether or not they should continue to drive.

    In all fairness the researchers do point out the study’s weaknesses.I could go on, but after reading about this study so many times…enough said!Thank you for your read!

     

  7. The_DMV says:

    Seems like a little to much personal info to give the dmv. I'll stick to printing out the right forms ahead of time at a 3rd party dmv site and saving time waiting in line.

  8. The_DMV says:

    Seems like a little to much personal info to give the dmv. I'll stick to printing out the right forms ahead of time at a 3rd party dmv site and saving time waiting in line.

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