Mental distress caused by a car or truck accident is not uncommon, and yet, admitting that we’re struggling emotionally can be a hard thing for many to do. If you’ve survived a crash, but the trauma still haunts you, you’re not alone. In this blog, we’ve outlined some next steps if you or someone you love is struggling with mental health after a crash.
Mental Health Issues Are Common After Car Accidents
In the United States, an estimated 8 million people struggle with PTSD each year. While that includes a wide variety of people, including soldiers and first responders, many car accident survivors struggle with post-traumatic stress.
According to a recent study conducted by British researchers, at least one in three car accident victims will develop PTSD, anxiety, depression, or a phobia a year later. Even seemingly minor crashes can spark significant mental health issues that, when left untreated, can become debilitating.
It’s easy to let caring for your mental health slip through the cracks after an accident; you’re busy going to the doctor, sorting through bills, and recovering from your physical injuries. It’s all a lot to go through and in the process of “powering through,” we don’t notice when serious mental health issues emerge.
Unfortunately, mental health can be difficult to talk about, and if you’ve never experienced depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can be tough to understand what’s happening to you.
Signs You May be Experiencing PTSD After a Crash
After a crash, it’s normal to feel a flood of emotions, including shock, grief, anger, confusion, and fear. While some people process these feelings quickly, the emotional trauma of a car accident can contribute to or worsen mental health issues like PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is relatively common after a car crash. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), you may have PTSD if you experienced or witnessed serious trauma, such as a violent car or truck wreck, and develop:
- Nightmares, flashbacks, or unwanted, intrusive memories
- Emotional distress or physical reactions to things that remind you of the crash
- Avoidance of painful memories or anything that can trigger thoughts of the accident, including people, places, or driving
- Difficulty remembering the crash
- Decreased interest in activities and social isolation
- Angry outbursts and a tendency to blame yourself or others
- Aggressive, destructive, or risky behavior
- Problems with attention and concentration
- Feeling like you’re constantly in danger
- Intense startle responses
- Having trouble sleeping
Typically, these symptoms must last for more than a month to qualify as PTSD.
If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing PTSD, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional who can accurately assess your situation and diagnose your condition. Therapy, medications, and emotional support can help you overcome your accident-related mental health issues.
Mental Health Is Connected to Physical Health
It’s always good to talk about what you’re going through, but there are physical benefits to treating your accident-related mental health conditions as well. Studies show that stress and emotional issues cause or worsen chronic pain. Indeed, in a recent study of people who experienced trauma and PTSD, 30% developed chronic pain.
Mental health treatment can help speed up your physical healing and keep conditions from worsening over time.
What to Do if Your Mental Health Issues Persist
If you are experiencing serious emotional issues after a crash, it’s important to acknowledge and address them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends, or even a support group to talk about what you’re going through. Talk to your doctor about the thoughts you’re having. They can connect you to mental health professionals who can help you improve your quality of life.
Developing a routine of low-intensity exercise, like walking, can also help your nervous system relax and recover. Seeking counseling or therapy can also help you relieve underlying emotional stress caused by your accident.
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we also understand that medical bills, the insurance company’s non-stop letters and phone calls, and financial uncertainty can add unwanted stress. You don’t have to fight that battle alone. Our lawyers can help you get the time and space you need to heal, while fighting for the compensation you deserve.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Calculate the Real Cost of Your Car Accident Claim
Mental Pain After a Crash? You Could Be Owed Damages
After a crash, victims of negligence may be eligible for compensation for their damages. This includes the cost of your mental health care, medications, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’ve been hurt, physically, mentally, or emotionally by a crash through no fault of your own, you deserve justice.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting for Alabama and the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Accident Victims
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we understand how challenging legal situations are after traumatic car crashes. We fight for our clients because we believe everyone should be able to live the happiest, healthiest lives they can. If your mental health has suffered after a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll evaluate your case for free, and provide next steps, all at no risk to you. You can fill out our simple online contact form, or call us at 251-888-8888.
However, if you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide or harming someone else, you need to get mental health care right away. Before you call a lawyer, contact your doctors, visit the emergency room, or call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline for help.
Babbel, S. (2010, April 8). The Connections Between Emotional Stress, Trauma and Physical Pain. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/somatic-psychology/201004/the-connections-between-emotional-stress-trauma-and-physical-pain
DSM-5 criteria for PTSD (2019, March 28). Brainline. Retrieved from https://www.brainline.org/article/dsm-5-criteria-ptsd
Gradus, J. (n.d.). Epidemiology of PTSD. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/epidemiology.asp
Tull, M. (2018, November 2). The Risk of PTSD After a Car Accident. Very Well Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/risk-factors-for-ptsd-following-a-traffic-accident-2797197
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.