When talking about car accidents, most people only consider the physical injuries. They fail to realize the emotional trauma that can arise from a catastrophic event.
However, feeling overwhelmed and consumed by strong emotions, such as fear, shock and anger, is natural. Knowing what to expect can help you find helpful coping strategies.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Many people think that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is something only experienced by soldiers returning from war. The truth is it can result from any traumatic event that involves severe emotional distress or physical harm, such as assault, abuse, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, the unexpected death of a loved one or a severe accident.
In fact, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of PTSD. Here are some signs that someone may be experiencing PTSD after an accident:
- Re-experiencing the trauma with intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks
- Avoiding places or situations that remind them of the accident
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt and negativity
- Memory problems
- Detachment from others.
- Being overly alert or on edge, having difficulty sleeping, or being easily startled.
- Irritability or aggressive behavior.
- Physical symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, chest pain, stomach aches, and changes in eating or sleeping habits.
Coping with PTSD after a car accident can be challenging, but some strategies can help manage symptoms, such as:
- Seeking professional help
- Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing
- Physical activity
If you are experiencing PTSD after a car accident, it’s imperative that you understand your legal rights and options. You may have lost work days and have medical bills to pay. Receiving compensation can give you financial support while you recover.