My psychiatrist is possibly going to put me on Lithium for my Bipolar. My concern is that I would have to stop driving, do I need to let the relevant agencies know of this? Or even being Bipolar?
Wow! You got me curious, so I googled the question. It sure does stipulate that in the British Isles you must notify them about a mental health condition. It also states that this does not necessarily mean that a driver's license will be withheld... just that they must be notified. This is a bit shocking to me, since here in the U.S. we have a thing called HIPAA laws... meaning that you are guaranteed confidentiality about all medical/mental health conditions, unless you specifically give permission that such info be disclosed.
That really is surprising to me, as I was contemplating a psych/addiction counseling job in UK at one time, and as Slattery says, coming from the U.S., I would consider that an extreme violation of personal privacy/ethics.
I would discuss this with your Psychiatrist and ask what the possible ramifications might be. They have a duty to explain exactly how disclosure of information may potentially limit lifestyle, (i.e., what the Dept. may do with the info, and what may be affected, such as future job apps, etc.) I don't believe you would be prohibited from obtaining a license, but I'd want to know everything!
Although it does mandate in UK driver's code that all Psychotropic meds. & mental conditions must be reported, it also asks that just about ANY medication or condition be reported, period! I would ask around your area, as well, to see what others do. Not saying to break the law, mind you. There may be a psych/bipolar support group in your area or nearby, and you could ask around the room. I've found networking and asking lots of questions can be so helpful to dispel any negative feelings, as well as, gather info. I was on Lithium for several years, and it never made me logy, even at what I considered to be a healthy dose. There are certainly much stronger medications, even alcohol, opiates and benzodiazepines, which can be far more compromising to mental capacities!. But, then all the meds. in UK are different from ours & don't seem to be as quickly or easily prescribed as in US... just my experience after sitting in the dental chair for 5 hrs. once in London... clove oil for pain?! LOL. Jillian
- Lithium Information for Consumers
- Lithium Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Lithium (detailed)
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