Life can change in the blink of an eye when you’re involved in a car accident. Whether a loved one was injured or killed or you were hurt, emotions are swirling after being in a wreck. While a fender bender might not be anything more than an annoyance or inconvenience, a catastrophic car accident can be devastating. Here’s how you can cope emotionally after being in a car accident.
Learn the Signs of Emotional Distress
While you may be in shock initially, the signs of emotional distress can creep up quickly. Be aware of them so you know when to seek help. Symptoms of emotional distress include but are not limited to:
- Overwhelming sadness that makes it difficult to function in your daily life
- Feelings of being “down” or “negative” that persist more than a week or two
- You feel like you’re not yourself or you’re watching yourself from outside your body, or you feel numb or in a daze
- Refusing or being unable to discuss anything related to the car accident
- Recurring nightmares
- Intrusive distressing thoughts
- Feelings of nervousness or worry that persist more than a week or two
- Feeling like something bad is going to happen but you aren’t sure what
- A higher than normal heart rate
- Gastrointestinal problems
Car Accident-Related PTSD
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can arise from witnessing or being involved in any kind of severely traumatic event. Although it is commonly associated with actively duty soldiers who have been deployed, a number of traumatic events — including car accidents — can also cause the disorder.
PTSD is characterized by re-experiencing the trauma through nightmares, repeated thoughts, and flashbacks, as well as difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, emotional numbness, and a desire to avoid people, places, or things that are a reminder of the traumatic event.
When to Get Help
If you experience the above symptoms consistently after your car accident, it’s important that you get help. It’s not uncommon for individuals to develop depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that need to be addressed following a car crash. Contact your doctor as soon as possible for an evaluation. If you feel like harming yourself, call 1-800-273-8255 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Since mental health services, including diagnostic tests, therapy, and medications, may be included in a car accident claim, it’s important to talk to your attorney about compensation for mental health services. Call Zink & Lenzi Injury Lawyers at 530-895-1234 for more information.