Common Mental and Emotional Issues After Car Accidents

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When it comes to dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, we tend to think about the physical and financial implications. However, there’s a whole other side to this sort of event: emotional and mental health. 

A car accident is a form of trauma. It’s pertinent for victims to be aware of the signs within themselves, and for attorneys to recognize these issues to determine the best course of action when it comes to compensation. 

Here are some of the common mental and emotional issues that arise after a car accident.

Insomnia and Sleep Problems

Victims of car accidents often find that their stress manifests through sleep disruptions. Whether it’s general restlessness throughout the night or insomnia, sleep problems can derail the healing process and cause a plethora of other issues.

It’s common to experience sleep disruptions during the days following an accident, as physical injuries and stress can cause discomfort. However, if the disruptions continue or worsen, this can be a sign of unprocessed mental trauma.

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PTSD

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) affects a lot of people after a car accident. Signs of PTSD could include:

  • Lingering memories
  • Obsessing over the incident
  • Flashbacks
  • Intrusive Thoughts
  • Distress and panic pertaining to driving

As insurance providers often try to limit the financial implications of an accident, they don’t generally account for mental health issues. As PTSD can have a long-lasting impact, it’s vital to pursue compensation to cover the associated costs. 

Mood Swings and Outbursts

It’s common to feel emotional during the first few days after an accident. A victim might start crying without provocation, be uncharacteristically grumpy, or even have periods of elation in response to being alive. However, if these fluctuations persist and become more jarring and uncontrollable, this is an indication that there’s a deeper issue.

If someone notices that their mood regulation isn’t back to normal after a few days or are told by friends that they seem different, it could be a sign of underlying trauma. 

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety often develop after an accident, especially if a person has already experienced these disorders in the past. 

Depression often manifests as a lack of motivation or energy, and can even present as physical symptoms like muscle tension and headaches. Anxiety after an accident often presents as extreme nervousness and fixation on seemingly innocuous issues. For some people, these feelings will pass with time. Others will require professional help.

Dissociation and Avoidance

Dissociative behavior and avoidance often go undetected after an accident. Friends and family members of those affected often comment on how remarkably well they seem to be handling things. Inside the person’s mind is quite another story. 

People who exhibit dissociative behavior stop caring about things that were once greatly important, such as getting to work on time. They disconnect from the world around them and often feel numb or as though nothing matters. This can lead to suicidal thoughts and damaging behaviors. 

Tips for Overcoming Trauma

The best way to start the path forward to emotional and mental healing is to reach out for help. Encouraging those affected to talk to a friend, loved one, doctor, or specialist can help share the burden and take the challenging first steps. 

Working with a professional psychologist can help accident victims learn coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety and depression, as well as grounding techniques to correct dissociative behaviors. 

It’s important to remember that time plays a valuable role in emotional and mental healing. Ensuring that the right resources are in place, both financially and emotionally, can help aid the healing process over the coming weeks, months, and years.

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