According to the World Health Organization, around 1.3 million people die each year due to road accidents, while 20 to 50 million suffer non-fatal injuries. But these numbers are all related to physical injuries. Hence, when we think of car accidents, victims with broken bones, ribs, burns, or life-altering injuries come to our minds. However, accidents are not just limited to physical health problems; they can also impact your mental health. In fact, they are one of the most common reasons for mental trauma in both males and females.
Your Mental State
Your body may get no physical injury, and yet your mental state can be completely shattered. That’s because a vast array of emotions, such as anger, guilt, shame, sadness, etc., can all flood in simultaneously. However, the only good thing to know is that you can ask for compensation for physical and mental injuries. You can seek the assistance of experienced legal counsel to file a personal injury claim and get compensation. They can also help you get your insurance claims if you are finding it stressful. To get the best compensation, you need to be well aware of how the accident has impacted you and to what extent. Hence, in this post are a few ways car accidents can lead to psychological problems.
Common Post-Accident Mental Problems
While you can face many problems, such as PTSD, anxiety, phobias, sleep disturbances, etc., here are a few common ones.
Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)
ASD is a mental health condition developed post any traumatic event. It usually occurs within a few weeks after the event and can last anywhere between three days to a month. When left untreated, ASD can lead to adverse side effects. To get the right help, you need to identify the common symptoms of ASD, which include the following:
- Dissociative symptoms such as feeling numb, reduced awareness, de-realization, depersonalization, etc.
- Re-experiencing the event through recurring thoughts, images, or nightmares.
- Avoiding people, conversations, places, objects, etc.
- Increased senses.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is almost similar to ASD, except that it can last for an extended period. Caused after experiencing a traumatic event, PTSD can last for months and can lead to various other health problems.
Often, people who suffer from this condition can lash out and might feel distant, and consequently, their relationships with their spouses take a hit. In some cases, people work through this rough patch. But a handful take drastic measures when they cannot resolve their marital issues, such as talking to a family lawyer to weigh their options, including divorce. To get the correct help, you must know the signs of whether you’re experiencing PTSD after a car accident. Keep an eye on the following:
- Having recurring flashbacks, nightmares, images, or thoughts about the accident.
- Avoiding people and places and experiencing difficulty in connecting with others and even yourself.
- Getting stimulated and startled easily.
- Experiencing distorted feelings, negative thoughts, or loss of interest in enjoyable activities.
While feeling mild anxiety is common after car accidents, some people may face moderate to severe anxiety levels, especially in women. This can significantly damage your daily life as anxiety can lead to other health problems, such as:
- sleeping disorders,
- panic attacks, etc.
Depression is a common condition for those who have gone through a car accident and, in general, everyday people. When it comes to depression from post-car accidents, it is usually related to the victims’ physical injury and pain. When the victim cannot participate in work and enjoyable activities, the resulting feelings can lead to depression. Symptoms of depression include:
- guilty feelings,
- feelings of worthlessness,
- recurring suicidal thoughts.
- lack of enjoyment,
- reduced concentration, etc.
How to Deal With Post-Car Accident Mental Problems
Now that you know the common mental health conditions that can affect you after an accident, it’s time to look at some practical ways to deal with them.
Communicate with People
When struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or trauma after an accident, communicating with people can help build a robust support system. It might feel challenging at first, but isolating yourself will only increase your troubles. Negative thoughts and feelings can become stronger when you cut yourself from others and don’t talk about your problems. Hence, it is essential to speak. If you are uncomfortable talking about the accident, you can discuss some other topics of your interest. You can talk to anyone, friends, family members, or even your lawyer.
Some physical injuries can limit you from staying active. However, if that’s not the case, it is best to stay as active as possible. When you stay active or exercise, your body releases endorphins. These are happy hormones that help you fight stress.
A few days or weeks after an accident are stressful, and practicing mindfulness can come to aid. It enables you to acknowledge your feelings and emotions as they happen. You can try focusing on your breathing or look online and follow different yoga routines.
Get Back to Normal
Car accidents can limit your potential for few days. However, if you don’t take proper care of yourself, it can extend longer. Hence, it is vital to try to get back to your regular routine as quickly as possible. This will help you stay motivated and keep the negative thoughts at bay.
Whatever the cause of your trauma, your primary goal after the event should be to forget it and get back to your routine. But if the mental anguish can feel overwhelming, find someone with whom to talk. Something as simple as talking can help you feel normal after a horrendous accident.