I am new to this community, and would like to post about the question of driving whilst suffering depression. I'm sorry if this has been brought up before, but I do not see an easy way of searching the community for previous relevant posts.
Back in March, I suffered increasing depression caused by work problems and ended up staying for a couple of weeks in a private psychiatric hospital where they started me on a medication - olanzapine. I was told that I needed to notify the DVLA that I was taking this drug, and not to worry as on its own, it would not stop me driving. Two weeks into the stay I was sectioned (because they thought I would self-harm, when I had no intention of doing so) and transferred to an NHS hospital. I was discharged from the section just five days later.
I then started seeing a psychiatrist and was made aware that the DVLA had written to her asking for a report on me.
The months rolled by and the depression got worse, and then at the end of July, I suffered 'an illness' that resulted in me being prescribed a medication to treat that 'problem'. I'm purposely not saying what the illness was and what the medication is, because doctors say that the illness and the resultant medication have *nothing to do with depression*. However, just three days after starting the medication my depression lifted. It was as if a cloud had been lifted from me. Since then I have been without depression, with increased mental and physical energy. Life was good.
I've done my own research as to whether or not the medication can help with depression, and found that in certain circumstances it can. But that's a topic for another thread.
During the period July to October, despite me having been signed off from the psychiatrist and my GP being notified, the DVLA continued to ask the psychiatrist for a report on my health. The psychiatrist 'forgot' to reply to the DVLA. The DVLA then asked my GP for a report, which my GP provided. However, the GP filled out the form totally incorrectly, specifying the wrong diagnosis, failed to recognise that I was better, and made many various mistakes on the form.
The DVLA then revoked my license. Since then I have visited my GP who has written to the DVLA saying that I am well. I went back to the psychiatrist who admitted her failings and she apologised for it, and we completed the form accurately.
I now have to reapply for my license and have had to engage a solicitor to argue my case explaining the various failings made by medical professionals along the way. It could be weeks before I get it back, and even then, and this is one of the things I am fighting for, I want my DVLA record to be as it was before they received the erroneous medical report from the GP. I have to consider insurance applications where they ask 'Has your license ever been revoked on medical grounds?'. If the answer is 'Yes' then my insurance premium will sky rocket, unfairly.
I am married with children at school and I'm currently looking for a job. I live in a semi-rural area and the childrens' school is in a rural area. My wife works full time. The considerable inconvenience and expense this has caused is enough to tip a lot of people over the edge!!!
What I'd like to draw people's attention to is:-
1. If you start a medication that requires you to notify DVLA, it kick starts a process of DVLA making extensive enquiries about you health.
2. If those enquiries are not accurate, your license can be revoked at the drop of a hat, unfairly.
3. You may have to reveal aspects of your health that you consider insignificant, but DVLA consider very relevant indeed.
For example, when completing the form, I told my psychiatrist that I drank 1.5 bottles of wine over a weekend, but nothing during the week. She told me that the amount I was drinking at the weekend has to be classified as binge drinking....... The form asks whether you binge drink.
I'm not advocating that people should avoid any medication that requires DVLA notification, and I'm not advising others to lie to healthcare professionals about their drinking habits. What I am saying is that there are many things happening these days, more so than before, that can result in your driving license being revoked, even when you are quite well enough to drive.