Getting hurt in a car accident can change your life. Even after your physical injuries have healed, you may experience mental and emotional effects from the accident.
The psychological effects of a motor vehicle accident can last for years. Although your physical recovery might be your top concern, it is important not to neglect your emotional health.
Living with anxiety
Many drivers who have experienced a crash develop anxiety about driving. When you get behind the wheel after your accident, you may experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as sweating, increased heart rate or nausea. You might experience constant worry about having another accident. You may avoid work, shopping or other outings because you are afraid to drive.
Easing back into driving with short, familiar trips can help you gain back your confidence and ease your anxiety. If possible, bring a friend with you to provide encouragement.
Recognizing the signs of PTSD
If your anxiety does not subside, you may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is especially common after a severe car accident. Symptoms include:
- Flashbacks or nightmares
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Intrusive thoughts
- Hypervigilance or startling easily
These symptoms can become disruptive to your daily life.
Seeking professional help
If your anxiety or PTSD symptoms are affecting your life and relationships, consider discussing them with your doctor or a therapist. If another driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to receive compensation to cover your mental health care.
The scars from a serious car accident are not always physical. If you have experienced a motor vehicle crash, your mental health should be just as much of a priority as your physical health.