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04 Mar 2003

Nervous driver
Dear Doc, I have a friend, 38 y.o. woman, who goes totally stiff when she gets behind the wheel. On the highway she drives at 40 km/h, she goes through red lights and stops at green. She is just extremely nervous. I don't know how she got her license, but she's been for extra driving lessons to try and give her more confidence. Do you have any suggestions? She needs to drive in her job and it is becoming a major problem.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear me,
Dear me indeed ! This surely is a significant problem. She should see a shrink for an assessment --- it sounds as if she may have an Anxiety Disorder, perhaps even with phobic features, fearing what may happen when she's riving. This could be similar to people who have phobic anxiety reactions when they have to fly --- and similarly, it can be treated well, oth with attention to possible medication ( something like Buspirone which can be calming without making a driver drowsy ) and especially psychological treatments to enable her to learn to be relaxed and confident behind the wheel. From the sound of it, the extremity of her anxiety may be affecting not only her performance when driving, but also her ability to absorb and benefit from the extra lessons at this stage,
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