A troubling amount of car accidents occur all over the world every day. There are varieties of reactions from different people, but almost all victims of a vehicular crash need a therapist. It is essential to take note, even the accidents with the least physical damage can still leave emotional and mental trauma towards all the people involved.
After an accident, it leaves people in a pool of different emotions such as shock, worry, and fear. ”We have found that PTSD leads to an increased bodily awareness and a fear of movement,” psychologist Tonny Elmose Andersen, PsyD, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Southern Denmark, explains. “This is why PTSD patients tend to feel stronger pain than they otherwise would.”
It is fundamental to focus your concern on the mental effects even after the initial impact has gone. Recovery may seem, but you should remind yourself that everything you are feeling and experiencing is completely normal and that there is a broad spectrum of medical therapy that can guide you through it.
Getting on the right path towards recovery should be your number 1 priority after an accident. Getting professional therapy and help is your best option because the signs and symptoms that you may experience may not be visible to the naked eye. It’s best to seek opinions from health care professionals to be able to diagnose and treat you and other people involved fully.
- Shock And Denial
Whether it is immediately or several days after the crash, it is normal for people to be in shock. It usually comes with feeling numb, continually being afraid, and many mood swings. It can occur in anyone involved in the accident physically, not just the driver.
“These kinds of reactions are normal and to be expected in the [short-term] aftermath of whatever has happened. I don’t think people should run to a psychiatrist or psychologist a week or two after. But if they start to become persistent, that’s a sign that they may become [long-term] and can become very debilitating,” Alan Steinberg, PhD, says. Steinberg is the director of research at the UCLA Trauma Psychiatry Program.
- Anger And Irritability
Most passengers may feel angry with either of the drivers involved in the crash. Resulting in lashing out at the people around you, but there should be a more positive outlet for these strong emotions like breathing exercises to help them relax.
- Guilt And Self-Blame
It’s common for drivers to feel at fault in the accident, considering the lingering feeling they may have that they could’ve stopped or avoided the whole thing. Anyone involved can feel like it’s their fault. Passengers or witnesses can even blame themselves for not doing anything else to avoid the situation or provide protection.
“Some people engage in more risk-taking behaviors,” relates Robyn Jacobson, PsyD, a director at Rising Ground, a nonprofit human services organization that helps people overcome adversity. “That might seem unusual, especially if you’ve just survived [a situation where your life was in danger], but it’s a normal reaction.”
- Anxiety And Fear
Anxiety after the accident can overall affect your daily routines and energy. You may find yourself not able to relax and continuously to worry to the point that you are unable to think straight and go about your day. It’s important to give yourself time and make sure you talk about it.
- Loss of energy
- Constant worrying
- Not being able to sleep or rest
- Unable to socialize properly or speak
- Keeping yourself preoccupied to avoid thinking
- Constant flashbacks that abruptly interrupt the train of thought
- Racing pulse and dry mouth
- Muscle tension or pain
- Constant headaches
- Stomach pain
- Crying outbursts
Getting The Help You Need After The Accident
Here are some of the ways you can cope and power through the accident:
- Talk to a professional.
Most victims prefer talking to a therapist or doctor to unload their thoughts and emotions without fear or worry completely.
- Find the right therapy for you.
Seeking medical help doesn’t always have to be just talking to a therapist. There are other ways tailored to the person who has experienced trauma, to cater to the patient’s needs adequately.
- Take your time.
There is no rush to go back to the way you used to be. Recovery takes time and cares when it comes to emotional and mental trauma. Realize that it’s completely normal to take the time you need to get back to your regular routines.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?
- Are there medicines that can help me?
- How long until I get better?
- What is the best therapy that can help me?
- What if my symptoms have lasted more than three months?
Many accidents can cause severe trauma, which is why it is essential to look for and receive the professional help you need immediately. It’s important to remind people because in some situations people around you may encourage victims to work it out themselves or repress emotion. It may lead to making the trauma worse and risking the possibility to deepen the distress you feel when reminded of the accident. You should not be embarrassed seeking professional help and advice even years after a traumatic incident. Physical scars may fade, but psychological wounds may stay with you for a long time if not addressed and treated.