When discussing auto accidents, people tend to solely focus on the physical injuries they sustained, which can take weeks or months to recover from with the help of medical attention. However, car accident victims also experience adverse impacts to their mental health, including anxiety and chronic stress.
After an auto crash, it is natural to fear another accident the next time you get into a car, especially if you drive through the same area or along the same route where the accident occurred. However, this fear can persist and can be overwhelming. You might not be able to ever drive again.
The Toll of an Accident on Mental Health
Many people experience post-traumatic stress after a car accident. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can include:
- Recurring and invasive thoughts about the crash
- Avoidance of medical appointments
- Fear or anxiety when riding a vehicle or driving
- Irritability or general uneasiness
In severe accidents, some victims even develop a condition known as dystychiphobia, of the fear of accident, which can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life. Individuals with this fear may refuse to travel outside of their homes, may limit or eliminate travel altogether, and isolate themselves from friends and family.
Contact your doctor or licensed counselor if you believe your quality of life is being affected by PTSD or dystychiphobia.
Fully Recovering After an Accident
There are steps that you can take to manage the effects a car accident has on your mental health, including:
- Talking about it: Share your story about the accident with the clergy, medical providers, friends, family, or other important individuals in your life. Telling your story can assist you in feeling less alone, and it can help you easily process what occurred.
- Focusing on gratefulness: Seeking the positive side of an occurrence does not reverse that you went through something terrifying. However, it can assist your brain in breaking the negative thoughts that could lead to your fears.
- Not giving up: If you have sustained injuries, consult your provider about the level of activity that is applicable for your recovery, physical exercise has been shown to decrease depression and relieve anxiety.
- Giving yourself time: when you are ready to drive again after your accident, start with short distances. Choose streets with minimal traffic and then build-up to highway driving and longer distances.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Insurance companies should include coverage for both physical and mental care after an accident. Do not hesitate to ask your primary health care provider for a referral to a support group, counselor, or other mental health resources.
If you have sustained injuries in an automotive accident, contact a car accident attorney from El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers to schedule a free consulatation.