When we consider the effects of an auto accident, we rarely think about the emotional and psychological effects it can have on an individual. Oftentimes, we only worry about addressing the physical effects, such as the physical pain of the injuries, which, of course, is important. You have to do what you need to do to heal your body.
However, it is important not to ignore what’s going on with your emotions in the aftermath of an auto accident. Studies show that victims of major auto accidents are at an increased risk of suffering depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Emotional Trauma After a Car Accident
Being involved in a traumatic event such as an auto accident can turn the victim’s life upside down. In some cases, auto accident victims may be diagnosed with a mental health condition, which they developed because of the accident. One of the most common mental health conditions people develop after an auto accident is PTSD. While this condition is normally associated with sexual assault victims or soldiers returning from combat, virtually any type of traumatizing event can cause this condition.
Auto accidents, particularly violent accidents, can be traumatizing for victims. They may have recurring and intense memories of the accidents. They may have flashbacks of the accident that may result in periods of blackouts. They may also have panic attacks or nightmares and avoid driving because of the anxiety caused by getting behind the wheel.
Some may also become depressed and withdrawn from family and friends. In some cases, they may engage in self-harm or even have suicidal ideation. In some cases, these symptoms may manifest as behavioral issues such as anger, nervousness and mood swings. Some victims may not even be able to focus or return to work.
For a majority of traffic accident victims, the overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety might gradually ease over time. However, for others, those feelings might not go away and, in some cases, may even become stronger. This can get in the way of you living your life. Some of the symptoms you should pay attention to include:
- A general feeling of discomfort or uneasiness that is continual.
- Feeling anxious about driving or even riding in vehicles.
- Reluctance to have medical tests or procedures done.
- Irritability or excessive anger or worry.
- Trouble falling asleep or being awakened by nightmares.
- A feeling of disconnect from people or events.
- Ongoing memories of the accident that you feel are beyond your control.
Getting the Help You Need
If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional trauma after an auto accident, there are a few steps that can be taken that could help. First, do not be afraid to share what you are experiencing with family members, friends and your doctor. There are many ways to treat these symptoms and your doctor may be able to point you in the right direction. Don’t let the stigma attached to mental health keep you away from getting the help you need.
Depression and anxiety can very quickly engulf your life and take control. Do not allow this to happen. Continue to engage in your everyday routines. Be around people and take part in activities you can still enjoy. Stay in touch with your doctor and ask for referrals to other healthcare providers if necessary.
It might also help to maintain a journal of your thoughts, feelings and emotions as you recover from your car accident. This is a good way to be mindful of your emotions and to track your mental well-being. Focus on your wellness. Regular exercise can help release endorphins into your system, which can fill you with positive feelings. Speak with your doctor about what kind of physical activity you can do safely.
Finally, even though you may have been the victim of an auto accident that might not have been your fault, you can empower yourself by taking a defensive driver course or improving your safe driving skills.
Proving Emotional Distress in a Car Accident Case
It is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced Cranston car accident lawyer who can help you determine what your auto accident case is worth. If you have experienced emotional trauma, it is crucial that you seek damages accordingly. In order to help prove your case, your attorney may look to present evidence that may include diagnosis of emotional trauma, the frequency and severity of your symptoms; underlying physical injuries; and the cost of treating the emotional trauma.
It will help your case if you continue to document your emotional trauma, seek an evaluation from a trained medical professional and track any bills relating to doctor office visits, cost of treatment by specialists, cost of prescription drugs, counseling and other therapies.
Contact a Cranston Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one were recently injured as a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation such as medical bills, pain and suffering and lost earnings, among other losses. Our Cranston Personal Car Accident Lawyers are experienced in working with insurance companies to get you the settlement or award that you deserve. Please call our Cranston office at 401-275-2039 or fill out an online contact form for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.