I’ve been saying this for years—UNPOPULAR PERSPECTIVE

Here is an article that talks about a study that demonstrates that antidepressants make people less safe drivers.

A new study suggests people taking prescription antidepressants may drive worse than people who aren’t taking such drugs, and depressed people on antidepressants have even more trouble concentrating and reacting behind the wheel. (continue reading)

The sad part? Other psych meds impair you even more. I was an accident waiting to happen for many years. Thank god I never hurt anyone.

This is something people who take meds want to stay the hell away from. I understand that completely. Not being able to drive is tantamount to losing freedom.

On the other hand understanding all the negative ways meds impede us is extremely important.

In an email group it was pointed out that many drugs other than psych meds can cause impairment while driving. Absolutely true…but we need to take responsibility for what we put in OUR bodies.

I’ll add that the biggest reason this is a sore spot for me is because for years as my doctor jacked up my meds to the point I literally stumbled about at times, I told him it was dangerous for me to drive. I did not feel safe driving to work, especially in the mornings as I took all my multiple sedating meds at night and was never fully awake in the morning.

Perhaps this was the biggest way my doctor failed me and society. He refused to listen to my pleas that I did not feel safe and didn’t think I should be working if I could not drive. And he refused to allow me to go on disability. I could NOT choose the responsible path.

In the last few years once I got put on disability and then as I became sick with withdrawal and weak and spaced out I did take myself off the road. I now have the luxury and rightful status of being disabled so I am not forced to put myself and others in danger. Unfortunately the only reason I’m disabled is because of the drugs. It’s a bad joke, really.

Now I finally feel safe driving at least some of the time, but quite often I still choose to refrain when I feel unsafe.

More on this topic here: Driving while medicated

9 thoughts on “I’ve been saying this for years—UNPOPULAR PERSPECTIVE

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  1. My driving was really bad on the medications. It’s amazing that I actually even got my driver’s liscense, I failed the driver’s test so many times on my medication cocktail. When I got off my meds, my driving became much better.

  2. I drove the last years on my psyche cocktail of drugs with my right hand on the emergency brake as I approached red lights. I would almost fall asleep and this I felt would completely stop the car from rolling if I did.

    When I repeatedly told the shrink this he replied-But you had to drive….

    See my recovery story Gianna wrote up where I said all those years on massive sedating drugs I was behind the wheel of a huge dangerous road machine. Help us all”’

  3. Just wanted to chime in about being driving impaired…hadn’t considered that it might be my meds, but now that I do consider it…I think that _is_ what it is…because of being sensitive to over stimulation, driving really brings this out…you’re in this metal box moving at 50 mph and faster and everything is just whipping past you and it feels discombobulating sometimes…I think this is also worse when you are withdrawing from meds, as I am. I really hate driving. I think I used to like it more, pre-meds. Everyone seems so cranky in their cars too…

  4. Welcome Off-Meds…
    I’m sorry you’ve had such a difficult time…and I’m glad you are among my readers and learning to be drug free.

    I do have to say that being that I am a member and a moderator of a benzo withdrawal group I can assure you benzos destroy lives all on their own as well.

    These drugs are all nasty–benzos, antidepressants, neuroleptics, mood-stabilizers, etc…if they’re psychotropic they can fuck you up…I’ve learned not to compare as I’ve seen victims of all of these drugs now.

    I wish you the best of luck…please stick around and share your experiences!

  5. Hey. I really enjoy your site. I’m also in the process of becoming an ex-patient…its frustrating at times, but your site helps a lot.
    Anyway, I think its about time that someone pointed out that the “harmless” antidepressants can have some pretty intense side effects. Docs have been doling them out as “safe” alternatives to the benzos, and now it seems, to me at least, that a lot of us would have been better off on Valium type drugs than on the SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, etc.
    I can personally say that pscyh drugs significantly affected my ability to drive a car. I got ito several car accidents that probably wouldn’t have happened had I not been on 4-6 meds.
    Shrinks seem to think that only the benzos affect cognition. For instance, after I was put on Seroquel and had so much trouble concentrating that I almost hit a pedestrian, I told my shrink “I think Seroquel is giving me concentration problems.” His response? “Actually, I think you had concentration problems before the Seroquel. The Seroquel should actually improve your concentration.”
    Right: tranquilizers…good..for concentration. Only in psychiatry.

    Thanks again for the awesome site.

  6. It’s nice to see some brave folk willing to admit they’ve driven impaired.

    And Susan,
    Well being that I’m hard nosed about this particular issue I would call driving at all a risk…

    I too was careful, but I risked my life and everyone’s on the road each time I drove.

    I really don’t believe it’s different than drunk driving. If are reaction times are slowed down at all…or as with stimulants, possibly…amped up too much…we are a risk.

  7. Dear Gianna,
    I couldn’t agree more. I can laugh now, but it was no laughing matter when I drove my minivan up our driveway and flattened two tires when I hit the cement lip that extends from the fireplace.

    While it’s always been a narrow space, neither my husband nor I had ever hit our cars on it until I started taking medication. And I found that I had to be particularly careful when I was driving in general–whether it was on antidepressants or stimulants.

    It wasn’t that I took any risks, but the medication did affect my depth perception as well as my eye sight. In fact, my opthomologist said there is research confirming that lithium (which I tried three times and got floaters once) affects your eyesight. When I told my psychiatrist about this, she wouldn’t even call my eye doctor for a consultation. That was the first psychiatrist (of five) that I “fired.”


  8. Ditto here. I take Cymbalta at 7:30 PM and feel more or less ok to do a short drive to work – but I have to take it in the middle of the evening so I can get myself out of bed 11 hours later…Not much of a life, although as I taper (agonizingly slow pace) I do feel a bit more alert in the AM.

    Of course I hate to think of the quality of my work when I arrive safely at the job. 🙁

  9. Gianna, I relate to the difficulty in driving. I find that I can never just relax and enjoy the drive. I am very deliberate and attend to each aspect of driving. I also go very slow and avoid busy interstate roads. Thanks so much for the candid and honest. Annie

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