Car accidents don’t only affect your physical health. A crash can seriously impact your mental health as well. Many people ignore the symptoms of their emotional injuries from a car accident or don’t recognize the accident as the cause of the problem. Quickly identifying stress-related emotional trauma after a car accident and getting treatment is critical for your overall mental health and overall well-being.
Car Accidents Can Cause Mental and Emotional Injuries, Too
Hormones like adrenaline flood your system during an accident, and when these chemicals wear off, it may leave you feeling tired, weak, anxious or depressed. This is all part of your body’s normal response to a major stressful event like an accident. But if these symptoms persist for several days, you may be experiencing mental trauma from the crash.
The most common emotional trauma conditions caused by car accidents are:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Memory loss
- Sleep issues
Symptoms of Emotional Trauma After an Accident
The symptoms of mental injury from a car accident can be hard to spot as they seem like normal behavior at first. Right after a car accident, you may relive the accident over and over again, experience it slow-motion and talk about details of the crash obsessively. You might avoid certain driving situations or conditions or the location of the collision. You may even experience a few bad dreams or restless nights.
But if weeks have passed and these symptoms are not beginning to lessen, you should take it seriously and contact a therapist or counselor for an evaluation.
Treating Mental Injury After a Crash
The first people you should talk to about how you feel after a car accident is your family and loved ones. Make them aware of how you are processing the experience. They may be all the support you need, and they may also be able to tell you if they see warning signs that your emotional trauma is lingering or getting worse.
The good news is there are many effective treatments for stress-related trauma. Breathing exercises, cognitive therapy, hypnotherapy, and medication are all available. You may also benefit from a defensive driving course, mindfulness exercises and meditation. If you have physical injuries as well, talk to both your medical practitioner and your mental health therapist about a plan for your overall health and healing. They may be able to offer advice that works in conjunction.
Don’t wait to seek help. Stress, anxiety, and depression caused by trauma won’t go away on its own, and the longer you wait, the longer it may take to feel better. Mental health conditions can also affect your physical injuries as well, prolonging or worsening pain and discomfort. Healing your body and your mind is important.