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How to Deal with Anxiety After a Car Accident

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Even a relatively minor car accident can leave you feeling extremely anxious and stressed.  A significant collision with many people suffering traumatic injuries will almost certainly affect your psyche. It may leave you with permanent emotional scars.

Did you know that you can get compensation for anxiety after a car accident? Psychological damage can range from temporary depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At the time of the accident, you may experience one or many of the following:

  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • An inability to believe that the accident happened
  • Shock

It is usual for people to get over the incident within a few days. During this time, you may get flashbacks of how the accident happened. You may hear the sounds of impact, screeching of brakes and smashing glass.

If your psychological state remains unstable for an extended period, or if you start suffering from PTSD symptoms, it is time to get professional help. Also, be sure to seek legal help as well to gain compensation for your trauma.

PTSD after a car accident

Strong feelings that refuse to fade over time and start affecting your daily life are signs of PTSD.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Nightmares
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiousness relating to driving or being a passenger
  • Repeated flashbacks of the accident
  • A general uneasy feeling
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of anger
  • Feeling excessively worried

PTSD Susceptibilities

Several things can make you more susceptible to PTSD, such as:

  • You have had a prior traumatic event such as an accident, a national disaster or physical abuse
  • You were already depressed at the time of the accident
  • Your accident was life-threatening
  • You have been previously exposed to other traumatic events as a first responder
  • Seeing other people who were seriously injured
  • Lack of any support and no means of communication after the accident.

What you can do to minimise PTSD

There are a few things you can do:

  • See Your doctor. If you have any of the symptoms outlined above, see your doctor. Your doctor could prescribe you medication or refer you to a specialist if they consider this necessary.
  • Get back to doing what you do. Some people limit what they do daily after an accident. Though you may feel uneasy at first, you must get back into your routine as this helps to settle back into everyday life.
  • Talk to friends and family about the accident. Tell your family and friends about the accident. Try to recount the details of what you saw, heard and felt at the time and following the incident. This is therapeutic and can ‘relieve you of the load’ to a degree, and is often sufficient to clear the issue psychologically.
  • Stay physically active. Do exercise every day. Start walking if you haven’t been exercising. Physical activity is an excellent distraction and has enormous psychological and health benefits.


It is normal to feel anxious after being in a car accident. But suppose you feel you have lost control of your emotions and feel out of your depth. In that case, it is best to see a professional therapist who can help you work through the issues.

If you pursue a personal injury claim, remember that you can claim for anxiety and emotional distress, including PTSD.

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.

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