On our busy roadways, thousands of car accidents occur on a daily basis. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the chances of being involved in an accident, at least once, in your life is highly probable, especially considering the statistics. Every 12 minutes someone dies in a motor vehicle crash, every 10 seconds a crash related injury occurs, and every 5 seconds a car accident occurs. Whether you are involved in a minor fender bender or a severe crash that resulted in fatalities, car accidents can be cause emotional, financial, physical, and mental stress and often times resulting in serious depression.
Feeling “Blue” After a Car Accident?
Anyone, who has ever been involved in a car accident, will agree that it can be frustrating, scary, and even be a hassle. Depending on the accident, you might have to deal with insurance companies, the police department, legal issues, car repairs, and even medical attention. Many times, the mental and emotional stress, following a car accident, is prevalent, but many people don’t take it seriously.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD affects many car accident survivors, even years after the accident occurred. PTSD occurs when an individual continues to feel the traumatizing effects of an event that threatened or caused physical harm. For instance, a driver who was injured in a multiple car pileup may experience PTSD symptoms long after the accident occurred. Whether an individual, who was involved in a car accident, has flashbacks of the accident, becomes afraid to drive, or is depressed, he/she may be experiencing PTSD. Additional signs and symptoms of PTSD may include:
- Bad Dreams or Frightening Thoughts
- Avoiding places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
- Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
- Having difficulty remembering the event
- Feeling tense or “on edge”, including emotional outbursts or trouble sleeping.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, some car accident victims, who suffer from PTSD, have “avoidance symptoms”. These symptoms manifest in travel behaviors such as driving phobias, limitations on driving, and anxious behavior as passengers. However, not all car accident victims suffer from PTSD nor does it take a near-fatal crash to trigger PTSD; it all depends on the individual.
Don’t Let an Accident Keep You Down
After an accident, many individuals don’t have the chance to reflect on the accident itself, as they try to “settle up” with insurance companies, doctors, the other driver, and lawyers. But what happens when life gets back to normal? Are you wracked with guilt? Has everything become mundane? Are you feeling depressed when life is otherwise good? It’s important to take your feelings seriously. Some people may feel “silly” or others may tell you, the accident victim, things like, “At least you’re alive!” Sometimes it’s not feasible to just “shut off” the constant negative and fearful thoughts and feelings. An accident victim, wanting to reduce the risk of PTSD after an accident, may want to:
- Seek support from friends and family
- Join a support group
- Have a coping strategy, dealing with a bad experience
Additionally, some people may want to seek professional medical advice, as some medications and therapies are helpful in coping with the after effects of a car accident.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you have most likely experienced a range of emotions. Even if you left the scene of the accident unscathed, you may feel remorse, angry, fear, and depression. Would you rather surrender to your fear of getting behind the wheel or get the help that you deserve?