Any type of vehicular accidents can be distressing, but serious collisions can be particularly traumatic. If you’ve been involved in a car accident or a road traffic incident, you may have suffered significant emotional and psychological trauma, as well as potentially serious physical injuries.
Following this type of incident, the physical health of everyone involved will be your primary concern. Depending on the nature of the accident, people may have sustained life-threatening injuries, so accessing medical help quickly is vital.
Once you’ve received treatment for your physical injuries, however, you may need to address the psychological impact the incident has had on you. Often, victims are unable to put the incident out of their mind, and they may suffer from flashbacks or nightmares as a result. In addition to this, you may feel fearful about getting behind the wheel again, and you may even feel unsure about traveling in a car as a passenger.
However, there are various ways you can cope with the trauma following a car or vehicular accident, and you needn’t suffer in silence. Accessing support from both medical professionals and your loved ones can improve your mood, whilst obtaining advice from professional resources, such as the Gartlan Injury Law Blog, will help you to determine whether you’re eligible to receive personal injury compensation. It’s always worth checking.
Share how you feel
Keeping your emotions bottled up is rarely a good idea, and it can be particularly harmful following a traumatic event. Talking to someone about what happened, as well as how you feel about it, can make a big difference in terms of your emotional state. Whether you choose to turn to family, friends, colleagues or a professional therapist, the act of sharing how you feel could be cathartic in itself.
Find out about PTSD
Not everyone who is involved in a car accident will go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, but it is something you need to be aware of. The trauma surrounding a serious incident can certainly give rise to PTSD, and familiarizing yourself with the symptoms means you’ll be able to identify them if they do occur.
People with PTSD often experience increased anxiety, reluctance to talk about the incident, nightmares, flashbacks, and hyperarousal, and these symptoms could be on-going for weeks, months or years if they’re not treated effectively.
When individuals with PTSD experience symptoms of hyperarousal, they typically respond in an exaggerated way to normal events. You may notice that you feel particularly angry or irritable, for example, but there may not be a specific cause. Similarly, you could experience intense feelings of fear, panic or discomfort.
Identifying Acute Stress Disorder
If you experience symptoms associated with PTSD but they begin to subside after a few weeks, you may have Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), as opposed to PTSD. Although the symptoms of ASD do typically reduce after a few weeks, it’s still worth seeking professional help. Without appropriate treatment, symptoms may last longer and there is a bigger risk that you will develop PTSD as a result.
Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for both ASD and PTSD. Treatments may include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, medications and/or talking therapies. Many people with these conditions do find that treatment is effective, so you should always consult your physician when you’re coping with trauma following a car accident.
It’s extremely common to experience anxiety following a traumatic event, and many people who have been involved in vehicle collisions will notice they feel more anxious in the days and weeks following the incident.
However, too much anxiety can be harmful to both your mind and body. By taking steps to reduce your anxiety levels, you can help to minimize the negative impact anxiety can have, and prevent it from having a long-term impact on your life.
Mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques are all safe and natural ways to decrease anxiety, and they can be extremely beneficial following a traumatic event. In addition to this, your physician and/or therapist can provide you with treatment to overcome your anxiety following a traumatic car accident or collision.
Take care of yourself
The emotional harm associated with road traffic accidents can sometimes take longer to heal than physical injuries, so it’s vital you take care of yourself during the aftermath of a car accident. Practice good nutrition, enjoy time with family and friends and engage in your usual hobbies if you feel well enough.
With the right care and treatment, you can recover from the emotional impact a serious accident can have. Providing you have the right support in place, you can ensure that the negative psychological effects are minimized as much as possible and that they are temporary, rather than permanent.