Survey of Drugs and Medicines That Have Detrimental Impacts on Drivers Performance

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A literature survey of drugs and medicines that have detrimental impacts on drivers' performance (3) focused on studies related to the effects of drugs on driving. Information was compiled in table form categorizing the available medicinal drugs according to their influence on driving in different systems in different countries. Driving is a complex task whereby the driver constantly receives information, analyzes it, and reacts to it. Substances that have an influence on brain functions or on mental processes involved in driving will clearly affect driving performance. Stimulant drugs, such as amphetamines, methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "ecstasy") and cocaine enhance risk-taking behavior. These drugs are also dangerous because of the fatigue that sets in after the "high" or after a full weekend of drug-taking and dancing. Moreover, they dilate the pupils, and drivers can be blinded by the increased amount of light. Cannabis causes euphoria, somnolence, a change of visual and auditory perception, and a decrease in psychomotor abilities. The danger is markedly increased when cannabis is combined with alcohol, which is a common practice. Opiates (heroin) cause sedation, sleepiness, apathy, and pinpoint pupils. In the withdrawal phase, the subject becomes nervous, irritable, and less concentrated, which are characteristics not compatible with safe driving.

The study also reviewed the effect of medication on driving, relying on experimental and pharmaco-epidemiological studies. The most important groups are the benzodiazepines, which are used by 10-20% of the population in some countries, such as Belgium and France. Pharmaco-epidemiological studies have clearly shown that users of benzodiazepines face a two- to fivefold higher risk of being involved in an accident. This risk is even higher (8- to 10-fold) for people in the first 2 wk of treatment. Some studies have shown that the increase in crash risk is even more pronounced in young males taking long-acting benzodiazepines. Other drugs that were reviewed were antidepressants, antihistamines, neuroleptics, and opiods.

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Free Yourself from Panic Attacks

With all the stresses and strains of modern living, panic attacks are become a common problem for many people. Panic attacks occur when the pressure we are living under starts to creep up and overwhelm us. Often it's a result of running on the treadmill of life and forgetting to watch the signs and symptoms of the effects of excessive stress on our bodies. Thankfully panic attacks are very treatable. Often it is just a matter of learning to recognize the symptoms and learn simple but effective techniques that help you release yourself from the crippling effects a panic attack can bring.

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