Find Out How Car Accidents Can
Cause Mental Health Problems
Have you ever wondered what happens to your body and brain after a car accident?
When you are in a car crash, the chances are that you will be injured. You may also be traumatized and psychologically damaged due to the crash.
The statistics paint the picture of this impact. For example, in the USA alone, in 2020, it was recorded that there were more than 6 million motor vehicle crashes. More than 2 million people were injured and more than 32,000 killed (in car crashes).
Truly, it is a tragedy anywhere whenever there is a car crash. So what follows here is an overview of the emotional impact of car crashes on individuals and society as a whole.
The Emotional Impact On Individuals
Motorcycle and car crashes are some of the most traumatic events that can happen in anyone's life. Statistics show that anyone who has been in a bad car accident will suffer from some form or another of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - either short or long term.
In the short term: Certain effects from car accidents can be felt immediately after the event, sometimes even up to a year later. These may include anxiety, irritability/anger, nightmares, difficulty concentrating/remembering things, fear of driving again (even if they were not driving at the time), depression/sadness, and guilt/shame.
According to a motorcycle accident attorney Portland, the emotional impact of a car crash is something that can't be taken lightly. It's not just the traumatic experience itself but also the months and years that follow. The mental health of victims and other people close to them can really be put under a lot of pressure. Victims and their families tend to experience several different stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. After a car crash, many people end up suffering from the effects of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Some will cope with this in different ways- some may self-medicate or binge drink, others may turn to drugs or alcohol, while others will simply bottle everything up inside until they're unable to cope anymore.
It's not just those directly involved in a car crash who suffer from PTSD either. In fact, many emergency officials can suffer similarly as well. Paramedics and firefighters who regularly see these kinds of incidents on a daily basis are much more likely to develop problems than those who only see the occasional incident. This is because the level of trauma they witness almost daily can cause them to start seeing it as "part of the job", which makes it harder for them when they have time off work.
Different types of emotional trauma can occur after a car crash:
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD
Flashbacks are one of the most common reactions to PTSD. Flashbacks happen when you experience certain stimuli that remind you of the original event. In many cases, people experience flashbacks after experiencing some sort of psychological stressor (Emory University).
Depression is when a person experiences a persistent low mood or loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed doing. Depression comes in two forms: major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder. Depressed people usually have trouble getting out of bed in the morning and feel hopeless about their situation.
Traffic and travel anxiety
When a person experiences anxiety after a car crash, they become more fearful about traveling. The fear of traveling can lead to avoidance behavior. Avoidance behavior can be as simple as driving at a slower speed. However, it can also mean not making plans to go out because it involves going somewhere by car. Anxiety is a common emotional response to trauma. In the immediate aftermath of a car crash, you may feel vulnerable, scared, and even confused about what happened. It's normal to have some fear about driving again, especially if it was your fault. If your anxiety does not resolve independently, it can be treated with medications and therapy.
Panic attacks are sudden feelings of intense terror that strike without warning. During a panic attack, your heart pumps faster than normal, and you may have chest pain, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. You may feel like you're having a heart attack.
Treating Mental Health Problems Caused by Car Accidents
Treating mental health problems caused by car accidents can be difficult and requires a long-term approach. The reason is that everyone's brain is different, and everyone reacts to trauma differently, so there is no one size fits approach to treating mental health problems caused by car accidents.
A physician specializing in psychiatry helps identify mental health disorders, while a social worker helps determine what resources are available to help individuals cope with their pain. Treatment is usually carried out outpatient and may include medication, psychotherapy (counseling), and rehabilitation. According to the American Psychiatric Association, treatment can take up to two years, depending on the severity of the disorder and whether it was caused by an external event such as a car accident or another traumatic event.
One of the greatest challenges for treating mental health problems caused by car accidents is that many people don't realize that they are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression until weeks or months after their accident. If you notice symptoms of PTSD or depression after an auto accident, do not hesitate to contact your physician immediately.
You will want a program that caters to your specific needs and addresses the problem from a variety of angles, including:
- Being aware of how you think about yourself and the world around you before the accident and how you think about them now to address any distortions in thinking that may be present as a result of your accident injuries;
- Identifying any triggers or warning signs that might set off an episode of depression or anxiety or start an obsessive cycle;
- Being aware of how others respond to your injury and what they say when they do; this may trigger an episode or make it worse;
- Learning new ways of thinking and behaving that will help you manage your emotions and control them; this will help prevent episodes from starting or make them less severe.
Reaching Out to a Personal Injury Lawyer
A serious car accident can have a negative impact on your physical health and cause you to miss a lot of work. The emotional toll of an accident can linger long after the physical injuries have healed. When this happens, it's important to reach out for help from a personal injury lawyer who understands the complexities of auto accidents and their effects on mental health.
If you've been in an accident recently and are concerned about the effects it could have on your mental health moving forward, it's important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer right away. An attorney can assess your case and tell you whether it's worth filing a lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident.
Author Atty Jim Dwyer
Atty Jim Dwyer is a relationship-driven attorney, who has been practicing law for over three decades and comes from a family of experienced and responsive personal injury lawyers.He is passionate about helping people who have suffered from life-changing injuries navigate how to make the best possible choices about their specific situation and circumstances.His number one goal is to ensure that people get the information they require, the care they need, and the justice they deserve.