Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fitness to drive and mental-health problems

Mental health problems are characterized by alterations in thinking, attention, concentration, decision-making abilities, mood and behaviour and can have far-reaching effects on a person's ability to function. One such effect is on people's ability to drive and a review of the literature looked into fourteen studies on this to weigh up the evidence. In eight of the studies mental illness was linked to higher traffic accident rates. Some psychotropic drugs had the potential to affect fitness to drive, especially in the starting phase of treatment or when adjusting medications. SSRIs (Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors) improved some of the skills needed for driving. Newer antipsychotic drugs improved cognitive skills but these improvements did not translate into driving-related skills.

Menard, Ingrid and Korner-Bitensky, Nicol - Fitness to drive in persons with psychiatric disorders and those using psychotropic medications: a systematic review Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 24(1), 2008, 47-64

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