Schizophrenic people are allowed to drive

Psychosis> driving a car

1. The most important things in a nutshell

No vehicle may be driven in the acute phase of psychosis. Whether an affected person can participate in road traffic again after a severe phase of psychotic illness depends on the type and prognosis of the underlying condition. When taking psychotropic drugs, affected drivers must discuss with their doctor whether they are fit to drive with the prescribed medication.

2. Assessment of suitability to drive

According to the "Assessment guidelines for driving suitability" of the Federal Highway Research Institute, no vehicle may be driven in the acute phase of a psychosis because the person's perception of reality is so impaired that a realistic assessment of the traffic situation is not possible. After the acute symptoms have subsided, the ability to drive a vehicle may be restored:

  • Organic psychological disorders
    A vehicle may be driven again if the underlying condition allows a positive assessment and neither residual symptoms nor a relevant chronic, organic brain psychosyndrome are present. Regular follow-up examinations are usually required. The expert determines the time intervals.
  • Affective psychoses
    If severe depression is accompanied by delusional or stuporous (freezing) symptoms, if there is an acute suicidality and in all manic phases, the psychological abilities are so impaired that no vehicle is allowed to be driven. When the relevant symptoms have subsided and not with their recurrence is to be expected, you may be able to drive again. This must be proven through regular checks by a specialist in psychiatry.
  • Schizophrenic psychosis
    A vehicle may be driven again if there are no more disturbances (e.g. delusion, hallucination, severe cognitive disorder) that significantly impair the reality assessment. If there are several psychotic episodes, regular examinations should be carried out by a specialist in psychiatry. But: The permission to transport passengers, e.g. in buses, or to drive trucks is usually no longer given.

2.1. Long-term treatment with medicinal products

In the case of proven intoxication (poisoning) and other (side) effects of drugs that impair the fitness to drive, the prerequisite for driving motor vehicles of all kinds is until they have completely subsided Not given.

As a matter of principle, the patient must know that he is responsible for his or her ability to drive. He has to observe himself critically before driving a vehicle. If in doubt, he should leave the car behind. Especially in the first few days after increasing the dose, those affected should not drive. Psychotropic drugs in particular, which have a depressant effect (e.g. antipsychotics), can lengthen the reaction time and thus limit the ability to drive. Drivers who take psychotropic drugs should definitely discuss with their doctor whether they are safe to drive with the prescribed medication. The package inserts for the medication may also contain relevant information.

3rd practical tip

The Federal Highway Research Institute's “Assessment Guidelines for Driving Suitability” can be downloaded free of charge from www.bast.de> Behavior and Safety> Specialized Topics> Assessment Guidelines for Driving Suitability> to download. The information on fitness to drive in the case of psychoses can be found in Chapter 3.12 "Mental disorders" from p. 44.

4. Who can help?

  • If you have any questions, the attending physician, the driver's license office, TÜV or DEKRA as well as offices that carry out medical-psychological examinations (MPU) help.
  • You can also turn to a traffic psychologist for personal advice. Addresses and information can be found at the Federal Association of Resident Traffic Psychologists at www.bnv.de or at the Professional Association of German Psychologists, Section Traffic Psychology, at www.bdp-verkehr.de.

5. Related links

Counselor psychoses

Driving license

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Driving license groups

Discounts on public transport (handicap> public transport)

Psychosis schizophrenia

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Psychoses> Legal Aspects

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