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paintedsky

Drivers license and psychotic disorders

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Has anyone had their license taken from them as a result of a psychotic condition? I wonder if someone can be deemed permanently unfit to drive after a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar with psychosis? Ever heard of this happening to someone?

I usually don't drive if I am feeling scattered, but it has happened that I am psychotic and get into a vehicle and drive around in a confused and honestly unsafe way. Sometimes friends and family have taken my keys. Thankfully I've never caused any accidents other than myself going off the road one time. Sometimes I'm surprised they haven't taken my license from me. Is this a possibility?

 

 

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This varies to a significant degree by state. I found it hard to get someone's license revoked, despite mounting proof of incompetence, for mental defect. 

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Yeah it totally depends where you are.  Here, physicians are legally required to report anybody who has a medical condition that could interfere with their ability to drive safely, but it's not clearly defined where that line is.  So if you were psychotic and due to symptoms couldn't focus on the road, or had delusions about driving that caused you to speed or if you were suicidal with a clear plan/history of causing collisions, you'd probably get reported.  But if you had a stable psychotic disorder and your driving wasn't impacted you'd probably be okay.

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Here is a little story to go with my question.

The last time I was psychotic, I was driving around in absolute terror that everyone on the road knew who I was and hated me and wanted me dead. There was a 'leader' so to speak who was in a huge rv who was following me like the grim reaper. I was petrified and kept taking exits and turns and getting back on the highway trying to confuse him so he couldn't kill me. I kept seeing this rv following me and waiting for me everywhere I would go. People in other cars would alert him to my whereabouts.  think I drove for nearly an entire day around in circles relentlessly perused by an imaginary assassin in his evil rv. Drove back and forth along back roads. Up and down the highways. If i stopped for gas I was only safe because they knew I was done for anyway. They knew I would die and were toying with me. It was a horrific delusion. I don't have any explanation for the rv and how it could have been there the whole time. Perhaps a hallucination that every large vehicle I saw was the same one. By the end of it I was so petrified I could no longer go on and I had resigned to let him kill me. I stopped at a gas station and was weeping, couldn't take it anymore and someone called the police. I'm sure I looked a fright and was scaring people. And i wasn't making any sense and the cops know me so it was off to the ER. That God damn rv was parked right there too. Don't ask me how it all worked. I wish I knew.

I guess I was driving safely even though my mind was junk or i would have got pulled over. 

Surely I shouldn't be driving in such condition. 

So my answer seems to be only that it is difficult to take someone's license for being crazy...

 

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I fled police at high speed (maxed out at 135mph) through 3 counties and made the nighttime news a few years ago during a psychotic episode. According to my attorney, if I were to plead insanity then I would've lost my license indefinitely at that point but choosing the option of a 3 year jail sentence only got me a 6 month loss of my driver's license. One of the terms when I got released on probation was that I could not drive until further notice. They told my parents to hide the keys when they slept at night. Eventually with compliance, I got my license renewed after paying a 200 dollars for restoration fees through the DMV website. My parents had to surrender my plates after my conviction and I had to pay for new ones after I got my driving privileges restored by a judge and pay for a new insurance policy.

There are times when I almost wish I just plead insanity. The main problem is the medication and not the illness when it comes to driving. My reflexes were tight the night I took off the way I did heading for paradise. While on the medication driving is a completely different experience. It usually slows down your reflexes and makes your eyes shutter more. There is definitely a different sensitivity to sound. I have a similar issue as you and just don't like taking public transportation. I don't really like medical transportation either. I recommend only driving locally and avoiding major highways and intersections while on anti-psychotic medications and seeing if a family member or friend can step in to drive you long distances. I could also recommend driving at night to get tasks done when the roads are usually less congested.

Just my 3 cents on driving with a psychotic disorder.

Presently speaking, my psych tells me that my public defender was bluffing, that they couldn't legally ban my license like that even after what I did, just court order medication to prevent further driving incidents. There's also a special type of license which allows you to drive to work and take care of imperative things like going to the bank or the post office. That would be during daytime hours only during a license suspension.

Edited by tsteele

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 Thank you for your input. I'm glad you got your license back in the end, that is helpful to know. It sounds like you had really harsh consequences for someone who wasn't thinking clearly. I wouldn't expect to be above the law as mentally ill, but it would be nice to have some understanding. I suppose it's a complex issue. 

 

I love all of your suggestions. But mostly because I get nervous going places that are busy. I drive only locally, when it's not a high traffic time of day and avoid busy places like the plague. You make an excellent point that driving on meds can slow your reaction time. 

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2 hours ago, paintedsky said:

 Thank you for your input. I'm glad you got your license back in the end, that is helpful to know. It sounds like you had really harsh consequences for someone who wasn't thinking clearly. I wouldn't expect to be above the law as mentally ill, but it would be nice to have some understanding. I suppose it's a complex issue. 

 

I love all of your suggestions. But mostly because I get nervous going places that are busy. I drive only locally, when it's not a high traffic time of day and avoid busy places like the plague. You make an excellent point that driving on meds can slow your reaction time. 

You're speaking my mind actually. The summer and the holiday seasons can be the worst in places and make me want to stay home or wait until 2:30 am to go out and take care of an atm deposit or go to a 24-hour pharmacy.

Edited by SheltieUnderdog

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I have been hearing sirens a lot while driving so I am constantly looking around for police or ambulances to see if I need to pull over. It's very annoying. Last week there was one day I kept seeing police cars and I realized they were all keeping tabs on me. I feel very disoriented sometimes while driving and am not sure why ... or I will feel like I am constantly about to go off the road. Like I "see" my car going off the road and running into things. Dont know why that is. I also get very distracted by things like billboards. My husband always drives when we're together because I hate driving.

For all that, though, I still think I'm a pretty safe driver. The craziest thing I do is drive the exact speed limit (can't give those police any opportunity to get me, you know).

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