When you see or hear about someone who was injured in a car accident, you most likely automatically think about their physical injuries. You might also wonder about the physical damage to their vehicle.
Once you learn that their physical injuries are treatable and they are recovering, you might assume that they are on their way back to normal. But this is often not the case.
Many Connecticut car accidents leave victims with long-lasting or permanent mental or emotional injuries. A car accident is often a terrifying and shocking experience.
Post-traumatic stress disorder in car accident victims
After the physical injuries heal, victims may still experience trauma for months or years to come. Some are even diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). In fact, statistics show that between 25 and 33% of car accident victims show signs of PTSD for at least 30 days after a serious car crash.
As you can imagine, these types of issues can cause many problems. Most of us depend on our vehicles to get us to and from work, complete errands or transport our children, family or friends’ places.
Additionally, many people drive when going on vacation, enjoying the freedom of the open road and the fun and excitement a road trip brings. A car accident can rob victims of the ability to engage in these experiences.
Signs of mental trauma after a car accident
Some common signs that you are going through mental or psychological distress after a car accident include increased anxiety and stress and feelings of anger or guilt.
Insomnia and sleeping problems are also signs of trauma, as well as nightmares. You could find yourself developing a whole new set of fears that you never had before, such as driving or riding in a car.
It might be best to avoid driving immediately after an accident, since the stress from the accident can affect your driving. You could be more likely to drive too slowly or react too quickly out of fear of having another accident.
Taking care of your mental health after a car accident should be a priority. Consider counseling or therapy to help you deal with the aftermath of the accident.
Overcoming your fear of driving
For many of us, not driving is simply not an option. If you are going to have to drive no matter what, there are some steps you can take to reduce your stress.
Spend time in your car without driving. Sit in your parked car for a few minutes to regain your sense of familiarity and comfort inside your vehicle.
When you are driving, make sure you are relaxed. Pay attention to your body movements. Make sure you are not tensing your muscles or gripping the steering wheel.
Deep breathing while driving can significantly reduce your sense of fear by helping your body feel a sense of safety. Listening to music or a podcast can help take your mind off the task of driving and allow you to relax.
A car accident comes with many costs, such as medical expenses, lost wages and vehicle damage. You could receive compensation for these costs. When pursuing compensation, remember that you can also potentially recover costs for mental and emotional distress.