How to Recover Mentally After a Car Accident

A car accident can affect a victim more than just physically. The trauma of a car accident can also have significant mental, emotional and psychological impacts. Many car accident victims suffer long-lasting psychological harm, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and phobias of driving. If you were recently involved in a car accident and are struggling mentally, recovery is possible. Learn a few tips to help you cope with your car accident and move on.

Learn About PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can arise after someone lives through or witnesses a traumatic event. Although often associated with soldiers who have been in war zones, PTSD can affect civilians who live through traumatic experiences, as well, including car crashes.

Symptoms associated with PTSD include:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety or persistent worrying
  • Depression
  • Outbursts or irritability
  • Nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • Flashbacks or random memories of the crash
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities

Car accident survivors who have post-traumatic stress disorder may suffer from some or all of these symptoms, negatively affecting their quality and enjoyment of life. The signs and symptoms of PTSD can arise soon after a car accident or in the following weeks. If you notice symptoms of PTSD after a car accident, tell your doctor. Your doctor may recommend you to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychologist, for further treatment.

Take Care of Yourself and Manage Anxiety

Most people who suffer PTSD or mental trauma from auto accidents make full recoveries over time. However, it is common to have trouble healing. Traumatic events can make chemical changes in the brain that take time to correct. Put your mental health first and take steps to heal the nonphysical trauma you suffered in the car accident.

First, recognize that you are not alone. You are not the first person to experience mental trauma from a car crash. Be patient with yourself and your emotions. Know that you didn’t bring the trauma on yourself and that you aren’t to blame. Then, take proactive steps toward making a psychological recovery. Anxiety and emotional problems can be easier to ignore than physical injuries, but it is important to get help so that you can start feeling better.

Manage your anxiety after a car crash using tools such as mindful breathing. This is a technique where you consciously take slow, deep breaths. Try a routine such as covering one nostril, inhaling for a count of eight seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, then exhaling through the other nostril for a count of six seconds. Focus on something in the world around you – find something you can see or touch and concentrate on that. These tools can help you manage your anxiety until you heal from your PTSD.

Talk to a Professional That Specializes in PTSD

Recovering from PTSD, depression or anxiety after a car accident often takes therapy or counseling. It is necessary to talk through what you’re thinking and feeling with a professional who specializes in PTSD so that you can process your experience and learn healthy coping mechanisms. A therapist can help you tolerate distress and manage your symptoms.

You may also be a candidate for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, where you learn how to change your emotions by reframing your thoughts. In some cases, you may also receive prescriptions for medications to help manage your anxiety or depression.

It is possible to recover mentally from a car accident in Kansas City. For more information about the mental and emotional effects of a car accident, how to cope and heal, as well as the financial compensation you may be entitled to receive for PTSD, speak to a car accident lawyer.