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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I am from India, Living in Chicago. Yesterday I was driving

Customer Question

My Name is ***** ***** I am from India, Living in Chicago. Yesterday I was driving in a highway with my wife on the side and I suddenly had this feeling to steer away and crash my car, It was very scary...I somehow controlled the thought by casually picking up a conversation on a different subject with my wife just to divert my mind, I felt so scared that I want to pull over, relax and continue driving but i didnt want to scare my wife, so i continued. How do i over come this...I dont have anything depressing at this point and I am having good life but I am not sure why this feeling came to me. How do i overcome this feeling. It happened twice now and when i feel this urge its like something starts from my stomach and goes to my head and i had to literally take away the hands from the steering wheel. Please help me on how should i proceed.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: I have had panic attacks before when i was like 22 or 23 years old (I am 35 now) and I overcame it gradually but now i am not having panic attack but this feeling is like very scary that i would harm myself
JA: OK got it. Last thing — Mental Health Professionals generally expect a deposit of about $18 to help with your type of question (you only pay if satisfied). Now I'm going to take you to a page to place a secure deposit with JustAnswer. Don't worry, this chat is saved. After that, we will finish helping you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer. So the good news is that these are just thoughts, not actual urges which are irresistible and would have caused you to actually crash the car. We all have thoughts about different topics because we are not in full control of our thoughts. For instance if I wrote "banana" probably a few different images and thoughts would come to your mind as a response, but not because you were in control. Also because we are not in control of our thoughts is why thoughts are not considered wrong or immoral, but actions are; so with that being said most likely you will never crash the car as you are in full control of your actions, but if you are truly concerned about these two incidents when these thoughts appeared than you can consider entering into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective, then your symptoms will lessen as well. CBT will help you to better see the whole picture and not focus purely on the negative. Here are a few good CBT techniques you can use as examples.

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping to lessen negative type thinking. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

Now if these thoughts become more intrusive and start to occur nearly every day for about a month than you may be starting to develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or Pure-O, which means you only have obsessions. In this case than CBT and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy is highly recommended in addition to a SSRI antidepressant. You are definitely not there yet with a OCD diagnosis, but I just wanted to let you know what could happen if the thoughts become intrusive and you cannot get rid of them. Also even with OCD, individuals rarely act on the intrusive thoughts so at this point, you do not have anything to worry about in terms of acting on these thoughts of crashing your car as you are in full control of your actions.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

I hope this answers your question and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.

*Please do not forget to leave a positive rating at the top of the page so that I can get credit for helping you. Thank you, ***** ***** appreciate it.