I recently got into an accident when I was driving. Thank goodness, no one was hurt. A scratch on my bumper, and a scratch on the other driver’s door. The next week after my accident, I nearly hit a pedestrian riding his bike. I didn’t hit him, but he fell over after I startled him. I’m quite upset myself, and now I’m beginning to fear that I’m developing a subtype of OCD called Hit and Run OCD.
Hit and Run OCD is the fear of accidentally hitting a pedestrian. Most people who have Hit and Run OCD fear unintentionally killing, injuring, or maiming an individual when they are driving. Other people who have Hit and Run OCD who worry about causing car accidents or causing vehicles to swerve and hit individuals.
This subtype of OCD may be misdiagnosed as panic disorder, given that many people who have panic disorder also report a fear of driving. The difference is that panic disorder involves the fear of panic itself, while panic in itself is not essential in the anxiety of Hit and Run OCD. Instead panic is a consequence of concern of hitting someone in Hit and Run OCD.
The symptoms of Hit and Run OCD include continuously checking the potential site where you hit a person, asking for reassurance from others or reassuring yourself, and avoiding driving altogether.
Since I live in California, specifically Los Angeles, not driving is out of the question for working, grocery shopping, and visiting friends.
The most common therapeutic method to treat Hit and Run OCD is Exposure Therapy, a type of Cognitive Behavior Therapy model. The treatment involves the person coping with OCD by facing their fears to stop themselves from ritualizing. Within the context of Hit and Run OCD, the therapist can conduct Exposure Therapy by asking their client to drive through an area where many people are walking and tell them to refrain from checking to see if they hurt anyone.
Hit and Run OCD and all other types of OCD are annoying to deal with because it can be very debilitating. If you feel that you may have Hit and Run OCD or another subtype of OCD, ask for help.