Sitting in a car

I have been diagnosed around 18 months. For the last few weeks I have found that sitting in a car as a passenger makes me very nervous especially on busy roads and quite nauseous.

Also, I have spent many years driving around the M25 visiting a friend. I find now that when I am driving I hate being next to lorries and it makes me feel nervous. Is it just old age or the Parkinsons? I have no problems driving around locally.

Would be interested to know how others feel. Thanks.

I’m definitely a lot more nervous as a passenger in a car than I used to be and I think it is due to Parkinsons. (Or maybe my husband’s driving has deteriorated :grinning:)

I’ve always been lacking in confidence when driving myself though so haven’t noticed much change in that!

Maybe a mixture of both? I use to drive 20,000+ miles a year all over the UK for work & visiting family and thought nothing of doing a 450 mile round trip in a day to visit my mother. These days I’d rather take the train but am perfectly happy driving locally and do so regularly. My husband feels the same though he has some form of Parkinsons and I don’t. Unusually we’ve recently made a couple of long journeys including motorways and busy dual carriageways and shared the driving which was fine for us both but we took our time and had longer stops than we would have done 5 years ago.

I thought it was only me - phew makes me feel better knowing I am not the only one. If it gets too bad, I close my eyes and breath deeply - some times helps other times I can’t close my eyes so just do the deep breathing. I rarely drive - usually to my mothers about 2 miles away once a week - I just see danger every where. If any body has a way of calming down that works would love to know.

Sorry twitched and pressed the button by mistake - hmmmmm.

I too used to drive the motorway for years - never bothered me then. But I have to say reading your email, it was just as if I had written it.

Doesn’t help with all the lorry’s on the roads and flash cars that go at a speed !!!

Thanks for all your replies. Makes me feel better knowing it’s not just me that feels this way. I never put my age, I am 68 so I suppose even without PD my motorway driving would be coming to an end.
Thanks again.

sorry only just seen this,.I have had PD officially since age of 43 . At the beginning I was startled by “loud” noises and also gripped the carseat when my husband drove.This was a problem for maybe a couple of years. b oth are not issues now 16 years on. many of my PD friends had similar problems-hope this helps

Oh my goodness, so glad it is not me! I am terrified as a passenger and unfortunately do not drive anymore.

I hate sitting in cars. I prefer using the tube or the train so I can stand/move about. This discomfort is caused by a condition called akathisia. I think it started in May 2002 after my gp gave me antidepressants for a problem I was having with my eyes.

This is an extract from a letter I wrote to a young hospital doctor in December 2002 :

“I am particularly stressed in social situations, taking my sons to school has become an ordeal. I can’t relax in my yoga class, can’t get rid of the tension. Sitting in my writing group I try to hide my lower face and feel incredibly fidgety. On top of the eye spasms I am finding the jaw/mouth spasms too much.”

Later that month I was given a drug called Sulpiride, known to cause/worsen movement disorders.

I had to go up to town the other day by cab to get my computer fixed. The technician said my computer was 10 years old and they don’t do new parts after 7 years. That’s my problem I joked - no new parts.

On the way back I was pretty tired. I had forgotten to take some crochet - it helps sitting to have something to do with my hands . I was moving so much it was exhausting. And I had had some winter bug which always makes my movements worse. My muscles have been feeling really tight. As he helped me to the door with my new computer, the cab driver asked me if I needed medication… No, just my dinner I said.


In the studies that have been conducted, both published and unpublished, the problems associated with SSRIs have been coded for under a number of possible headings, as mentioned above, including agitation, nervousness, anxiety, tremor, restlessness and hyperkinesis.

Restless Legs Syndrome ed. K. R.Chaudhuri, D. Rye & L.Ferini-Strambi OUP 2009

Chapter 5 Differential diagnosis of restless leg syndrome K.R.Chaudhuri, D.Rye, and S Muzerengi

Akathisia is a drug-induced adverse effect and therefore it is treated by gradually decreasing the dose of the offending agent and thus restoring dopaminergic function. … Furthermore akathisia can be precipitated by dopaminergic drugs such as levodopa in dopamine deficiency disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

The Many Faces of Akathisia T. Van Putten Comprehensive Psychiatry Vol.16 Issue 1, Jan.-Feb.1975 p.43-47

Akathisia, a common side effect of neuroleptic therapy, is an emotional state and “refers not to any type or pattern of movement, but rather to a subjective need or desire to move.” Akathisia, in contrast to the other drug-induced extrapyramidal reactions, is subjective, and for this reason it may be difficult to diagnose.

Raskin found that patients often are unable to distinguish between anxiety and restlessness, and he warns that “indications of anxiety-like symptoms” such as “uneasiness,” “hyperactivity,” “pacing,” “vague complaints about medication,” and “insomnia” may be subtle reflections of akathisia.

Akathisia is often associated with other extrapyramidal side effects. Thus 59% of patients with akathisia concomitantly experienced akinesia, parkinsonian tremor, or dystonia. This association is helpful diagnostically because akathisia can be difficult to distinguish from psychodynamically determined anxiety

Since many of life’s activities require sitting, a sustained akathisia is a severe hardship. The subtler akathisias often go unrecognized by the physician - but not by the patient ! Even a mild akathisia can preclude sitting through the dinner hour, a movie, a therapy session. or a sedentary job.

A Rating Scale for Drug-Induced Akathisia THOMAS R. E. BARNES

Mild akathisia: Awareness of restlessness in the legs and/or inner restlessness worse when required to stand still. Fidgety movements present…

Severe akathisia: Pt. reports a strong compulsion to pace up and down most of the time. Unable to sit or lie down for more than a few minutes. Constant restlessness which is associated with intense distress and insomnia.