Physical injuries are not the only thing to impact car accident victims. It is common for victims to experience psychological effects as well. No matter how serious the accident was, patients may develop symptoms of anxiety, depression, or PTSD. The psychological ramifications can influence how victims live their day-to-day lives. Recognizing common symptoms can help patients seek treatment as soon as they develop.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered when someone experiences or witnesses a horrific event. In the U.S., car accidents are the number one leading cause of this disorder. Victims with PTSD may have flashbacks from the accident that cause intense emotional and physical reactions. PTSD can last months, or even years if left untreated.
Symptoms may include:
- nightmares or trouble sleeping
- detachment from loved ones
- aggressive outbursts and mood swings
- heightened anxiety
- depression or suicidal thoughts
Individuals with PTSD might relive the accident through flashbacks or nightmares, which can bring up disturbing and uncontrollable thoughts. This may result in personality changes that affect the way the victim functions in their regular life. It is important to seek help from a mental health professional to treat and manage symptoms of PTSD.
It is common to feel heightened anxiety after a car crash. No matter how minor the accident was, victims may fear getting behind the wheel again. Even seeing a car that looks similar to the one in the accident can trigger anxiety. The fear of driving can interfere with daily life responsibilities, such as driving to school or work. Working with a professional can help alleviate symptoms so victims can get back to feeling like their normal selves.
Victims may feel symptoms of depression after their auto accident. Depression can stem from humiliation, grief from losing a loved one, or other burdens that come from having to adjust to so much so quickly.
Symptoms may include:
- loss of interest in usual activities
- loss of appetite
- lack of concentration
- social isolation
People with depression may feel discontent in life, which can cause changes to their daily behavior. Seeking help from a mental health professional can reduce emotional distress after an accident.
What You Can Do to Help
Individuals involved in car accidents can experience varying symptoms for weeks, months, or even years after the accident. Making self-care a priority is a crucial part of getting back to feeling like your normal self again. Many people find it helpful to talk about their feelings with someone they trust. Additionally, it is important to stay engaged in your daily life. Patients who remain active- exercising, socializing, etc., tend to have an easier time adjusting back to their life before the accident.
If you’ve been in an auto accident, call Dr. Huffman 24/7 at (866) 402-4250. His telemedicine service connects you with a board-certified medical professional immediately following your accident. From the comfort of your own home, you will get a personalized treatment plan and pain medication (if needed).