Hit and Run OCD Therapy in San Jose/Saratoga

At the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, we offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for Hit and Run OCD. Our approach is practical, goal-oriented, compassionate, and scientifically-based while focusing on your individual needs. We are located on the border of San Jose and Saratoga by Westgate Mall and serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Campbell.

What is Hit and Run OCD?

Hit and Run OCD involves persistent fears of hitting, injuring, or killing a pedestrian while driving a car. A bump in the road or an unexpected noise may trigger uncertainty about whether an accident occurred and prompt you to seek reassurance that you were not responsible for an accident. This may involve going back to check the scene, looking up accident reports, or checking your vehicle for signs of damage.

Symptoms of Hit and Run OCD

  • Returning to the “scene” to check for signs of an accident.
  • Looking in the rear-view mirror for signs of an accident or to assess the reactions of other drivers (e.g. to see if other cars have pulled over or are trying to get your attention).
  • Avoiding listening to the radio while driving in order to hear screeching tires or the sounds of someone who has been hurt.
  • Seeking reassurance from passengers in your car that no one has been hit.
  • Reassuring self, with mental rituals, such as “No one was hit,” “I’m a safe driver,” or “Nothing bad is going to happen.”
  • Avoiding driving entirely or avoiding certain trigger areas such as schools or playgrounds, roads without bike lanes or roads with lots of potholes.
  • Driving only when other people are in the car (to get reassurance that no one was hit).

Cognitive Behavioral Model of Hit and Run OCD

According to the CBT model, it is normal to experience intrusive thoughts and impulses from time to time. If you have OCD, however, you might view these experiences as threatening and assign a great deal to importance to these thoughts. So the problem is not that you are having the thought that you may have injured someone in an accident, the problem is that you believe that thought to be valid and to require action. For example, you may run over a pothole on your way to work and have the thought that you must have hit a body that was lying in the road. This causes you significant distress or anxiety. You may then attempt to soothe yourself with a ritual or compulsion that temporarily reduces your anxiety, such as turning around to check the scene or looking up accident reports throughout the day. Because anxiety is relieved in the short-term, the anxiety cycle continues with the next intrusive thought.

Cognitive Behavior Treatment of Hit and Run OCD

The goal of CBT for Hit and Run OCD is to teach you that you can manage the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts without performing compulsions or rituals. You will learn a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Treatment will include education about Hit and Run OCD and how it is maintained, cognitive strategies that will help you respond differently to anxiety and intrusive thoughts, and behavioral strategies to help you delay and/or eliminate compulsive behaviors such as the need to check and obtain reassurance. ERP/CBT will help you face your fears about being held responsible for an accident, in session and in the real world, and practice new ways of responding to anxiety. With practice and experience in facing your fears, you find yourself to be less disturbed by intrusive thoughts and more able to cope with anxiety and uncertainty.

How to Get Help for Hit and Run OCD

The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley is located at 1475 Saratoga Avenue on the border of San Jose and Saratoga by Westgate Mall. With our convenient location between highways 85 and 280, we serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Cupertino and Campbell, CA. Contact us at (408) 384-8404 for more information on how we can help you manage your Hit and Run OCD.

Serving the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Santa Clara, CA

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