We hear about car accidents on the daily. In fact, every 10 seconds there is a car accident in America according to NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Luckily most of these accidents are not fatal, but most people don’t think about or want to discuss the sad possibility and reality of the long lasting effects of accidents that go beyond the physical injuries. Mental injuries from car accidents can be life altering for many of those that suffer from these traumas.
A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that approximately one-third of those involved in car accidents experience persisting anxiety, a phobia due to the accident, post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD and sometimes even depression. Interestingly, the size of the accident or the amount of physical injury does not necessarily correlate with mental or emotional trauma. The plus side of this study is that of the 1,000 people reviewed, most of them recovered from these mental traumas or issues within 3 to 12 months following the accident provided they sought professional help.
First it is important to recognize which bodily responses are normal after a car accident and which require attention. Feeling anxious right after the car accident is a normal response as is weakness and feeling overly tired. This is because of your body’s release of adrenaline in the moment leading up to the accident, which is an expected bodily response to a stressful occurrence.
These symptoms become something more when they persist for several days or weeks after an accident. If you still experience these symptoms a week after an accident, it may be time to consult your physician. Also remember, if you have hit your head, jerked your head or neck extremely hard or feel any physical pains in your body, you should seek medical help immediately. The other symptoms that may arise days after an accident include memory loss, sleep issues, depression, PTSD and anxiety.
Other important signs to look for include:
- mood swings
- feelings of anger
- persistent crying
- loss of appetite
- loss of interest in normal activities
- a constant feeling of fear
- feelings of humiliation
PTSD can cause:
- flashbacks of reoccurrences related to the accident
- regular nightmares
- avoiding cars or driving or developing phobias related to driving or riding in vehicles
- extreme distress
- withdrawal from social surroundings
The first step to recovering from these injuries is to admit there is a problem for which you must seek professional treatment. Often times we hear about loved ones surrounding the person that has gone through the accident noticing strange behaviors coming from them. If a loved one approaches you after noticing your behavior has seemed different, it is important not to ignore their observations. The treatment for these mental problems typically involve anxiety management sessions, breathing techniques, relaxation methods and often times either CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or medications to help you sleep better. It is best to reach out to your primary care physician as well as a board certified mental health therapist so they may both determine what the best course of action to heal you may be.
If You Were Involved in a Car Accident, Talk to a Injury Lawyer Regarding Your Remedies
Being in a car accident can be a terrifying experience that may result in long term physical and mental trauma. These long-term effects can end up taking an emotional and financial toll on you.