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4 Common Psychological Issues Associated With Accidents

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Most people, including medical personnel, often focus on the physical damage of an accident. However, torn ligaments, broken bones, and strained muscles are not the only issues you may experience in the aftermath of an accident. Read on for four common psychological problems associated with accidents.

Major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as depression, is a mental illness that affects how you feel, behave and think. The pain and physical injuries sustained during an accident are often linked to depression. Depression is also caused by the constant worry and stress over the financial impact of a vehicle accident, so you should consider hiring a car accident lawyer to ensure that you are duly compensated.

Major depressive disorder is a severe issue that could cause severe setbacks, and you may not realize that you are suffering from the condition until months after the accident. Speak to a psychologist as soon as you notice the following signs and symptoms: 

  • Recurring suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Increased fatigue and low energy levels
  • Anger and irrational irritability 
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Difficulties in waking up or inability to sleep
  • Reduced concentration
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Lack of interest in hobbies or activities


After a car accident, you may face the uncertainty of your physical well-being and constantly worry about lost wages and medical treatment, which results in moderate to severe anxiety that could last for weeks or months. Women are more susceptible to anxiety after a car accident, with around 70% experiencing chronic anxiety in the first month, with 15% reporting moderate anxiety levels six to eight months later. Anxiety resulting from specific experiences such as car accidents may cause adverse side effects, including:

  • Physical symptoms. Frequent anxiety causes nausea, headaches, chest pains, dizziness, and muscle tension. Anxiety also worsens conditions like heart diseases, asthma, high blood pressure and weakens the immune system.
  • Panic attacks. The sights, smells, or sounds that remind a car accident survivor of the incident may trigger panic attacks.
  • Phobias. 40% of the people involved in an automobile accident often experience immense fear of driving or being in a vehicle. Others may be afraid of being in places or around people associated with the accident.
  • Sleep disorders. Frequent nightmares and flashbacks, inability to relax, and hypervigilance make accident survivors experience trouble sleeping

Personality disorder

An accident that causes brain trauma could result in personality disorders. A personality disorder is a mental condition that makes one have an unhealthy or rigid pattern of functioning, thinking, and behaving. You may experience trouble relating with people or perceiving situations. Common signs of personality disorder include:

  • Narcissism
  • Paranoia
  • Obsessive-compulsive
  • Schizophrenia
  • Mood swings

Posttraumatic stress disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common side effects of a car accident. Unlike other types of mental illnesses, PTSD is an anxiety disorder, so it does not stem from the physical damage of the brain. PTSD results in: 

  • Self-isolating behaviours
  • Nightmares
  • Emotional numbness
  • Paranoia
  • Difficulties falling asleep
  • Frequent flashbacks and thoughts of the accident


Various psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, personality disorder, and PTSD stem from accidents. Seek help from a psychologist to help deal with the mental effects. Be sure to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to help you maximize compensation for any psychological problems caused by a traumatic accident.

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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