Ways that a Car Accident Impacts Your Mental Health

Health 4 June, 2020

Car accidents can be more traumatic than some people realize. They only take a few seconds, but their physical and mental impact can last for weeks, months, or even years. Those who go through them sometimes find their lives have completely changed, and the road back is far from easy.

Let’s talk about some specific ways a car accident can change you.

You Might Be Afraid to Get Back Behind the Wheel

If you speak to a Seattle car accident lawyer or one from elsewhere in the country, they could probably tell you stories about drivers who don’t want to get back behind the wheel of a car for months after a traumatic accident. Even if a mechanic repaired the car in which they had the accident, the driver might not be able to get back on the road without:

  • Shaking
  • Having intense, panicky feelings

You should not think that these feelings and thoughts you have are silly or that they aren’t valid. Cars accidents can leave mental scars. They’re not visible, like physical injuries, but they are there just the same.

Even Being a Passenger Might Be Difficult for You

You might not feel able to drive again for quite some time after a car crash, but you may feel too distraught about what happened to even get back in a vehicle at all. Sometimes, someone who has been in a car accident won’t want to do so much as get back in the passenger’s seat.

Again, you might:

  • Feel an intense aversion to sitting down in the back seat or on the passenger’s side
  • Have feelings or sensations that resemble a panic attack when the driver starts the motor.

You Could Have PTSD

PTSD is a disorder that often affects combat veterans, but it also applies to individuals who have gone through other traumatic experiences. Kidnapping, terrorism, or natural disaster survivors, or sometimes car accidents survivors can contract it as well.

The symptoms of PTSD include depression, heightened anxious feelings, or a surge of unwanted adrenaline when faced with the same situation where the traumatic event took place. You also might want to isolate yourself socially. You might be needlessly aggressive toward those around you or suffer flashbacks or nightmares of the car accident.

You Could Be Depressed

You also might feel depressed following a significant car accident. One of the signs of depression is that you no longer take joy in events or individuals like you used to. You might sleep more, and you may lack the willpower to go through your daily routine.

It’s also possible that you might neglect your hygiene. You might feel listless like there’s no point in getting out of bed. You may reenact in your mind the events that led to the car crash and fixate on what you could have done differently.

What You Can Do to Combat These Conditions

If you feel unable to function after a car accident and the effects are psychological rather than physical, then the first thing you should do is seek the help of a qualified mental health professional. There are licensed therapists who deal specifically with traumatic events and can help you recover from them.

You can arrange to do sit-down therapy with the medical professional you choose. If you’re not sure which one is the best match for you, it helps to do some research beforehand. Find one that has excellent feedback from previous patients.

They Might Prescribe Medication

They’ll likely feel the best way for you to get over your trauma is by talking about what happened. Describing your fears and anxieties with someone sympathetic and unconnected to what took place can be a balm for you.

It’s also possible that they might prescribe medication to help get you back on track. There are mood elevators that can install a calm baseline. In time, they might be what it takes to get you back to the point where you’re willing to get back in a vehicle, or even drive one.

If you’re facing unwelcome feelings following a car accident, the most vital thing to remember is that you are not alone or unique. Many people can’t immediately get back on the horse, so to speak, after a devastating car wreck.

The one thing you shouldn’t do is not seek help for what’s bothering you. The sooner you face the fact that you have unwelcome feelings, the sooner you can do something about them.