Car accidents happen in a matter of seconds, yet they can leave people with years of physical injuries, pain, and recuperation. Loved ones are lost and the injured often lose time at work due to their injuries. In short, many lives are forever changed by the devastation that often accompanies a car accident.
With all of the physical injuries that often accompany a car wreck, the mental trauma is often overlooked.
Many people have to focus so much energy, time, and money on healing from their physical injuries that the mental toll an accident takes gets pushed aside. When people lose the ability to function normally in their day-to-day lives and are unable to work, they may lose their sense of self and purpose. This, and the sheer terror of a horrific car accident, can leave car accident victims with severe mental trauma.
Signs of Mental Trauma
Mental trauma affects people different ways, and it manifests itself at varying degrees in everyone. Following are the most common signs of mental anguish following a car accident, but there are others:
- Anxiety: Some car accident victims show signs of anxiety like difficulty sleeping, nervousness, and feelings of panic or impending doom. They may startle easily or seem jumpy. Anxiety-ridden accident victims may not eat much, or they may lose interest in social activities.
- Fearfulness: Car accident victims are often hesitant to get behind the wheel of a car—some will take months or even years to feel safe and confident enough to drive again. Serious vehicle accidents that result in catastrophic injuries and deaths usually lead to the most debilitating mental trauma, but not always. Some people may be afraid to drive even after a minor car accident. They will need patience and understanding from their families as they gain their confidence and feel comfortable getting behind the wheel.
- Loss of interest in activities: Don’t be surprised if the accident victim in your life wants to stay home. Many people who have been in serious car wrecks don’t want to be a passenger in a car let alone drive one. They may be hesitant to socialize in small and large groups; talking about the car accident may be too difficult for them. Loved ones should do their best to ease their family member back into a daily routine only when the car accident survivor is ready to do so.
- PTSD: Some car accident victims will show signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and they will avoid situations that remind them of the accident. PTSD may result in nightmares, anxiety, insomnia, and flashbacks.
Recovering from Mental Trauma Following a Car Wreck
If you or your loved one is suffering mental anguish or specific signs of PTSD following a car accident, you should seek medical help right away. While many of these symptoms may diminish in time, car accident survivors often deal with the mental trauma of the accident for years, sometimes the rest of their lives.
Victims often are not even aware of how much they’re suffering because they are so focused on healing physically following the crash.
Some suggestions for dealing with the mental trauma of a car accident include:
- Speak to a mental health professional
- See your doctor; get updates on your physical healing
- Exercise and do other things to take care of your physical health
- Spend time with others you feel safe with and who support you during your recovery
- Get back to your normal schedule gradually
- Spend time doing things you enjoy doing and take care of your mental health
Mental trauma is considered a “personal injury” following a car accident, so if someone else caused the accident and your pain, please contact Attorney David Cole to schedule your consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation to pay your medical bills as well as for the physical pain and mental trauma you are suffering.