Just as car accidents can cause serious physical injuries, these events can leave people suffering from lasting mental distress. Drivers and passengers who’ve been in major car accidents often struggle to resume driving or even riding in cars.
If you’ve been experiencing emotional trauma following a crash, seeking therapy could be an important part of your recovery. The psychological effects of an accident can be just as detrimental to your well-being as many of the physical ones.
Car accidents are a common cause of traumatic stress
Car accidents are an incredibly common cause of emotional trauma. In fact, following the Vietnam War, car accidents have become the most common cause of traumatic stress. Thus, you may be dealing with:
- Chronic anxiety
- Lasting depression
- Pervasive feelings of unease
You’re definitely not alone. These are entirely normal developments after any potentially life-altering or life-ending experience. They are also all clinically recognised symptoms of posttraumatic disorder (PTSD).
Seeing others be seriously harmed or being seriously harmed yourself is virtually guaranteed to have an impact on your mental well-being. Seeking therapy can help you start working through these challenges by allowing you to better understand how you feel, and by promoting emotional healing.
You’re afraid to drive
Vehophobia is the fear of driving or fear of being in a car. This is a condition that typically develops after being in an auto accident or after losing a loved one in a car crash. Auto accidents make people infinitely more aware of the dangers of driving, even though these dangers have not actually changed or increased.
Unfortunately, driving is for many people, an essential part of life. It’s important for commuting to work, picking children up from school or daycare, going shopping for groceries, and travelling to medical or dental appointments among other things. Moreover, many of these tasks simply aren’t possible when each errand must be handled via the bus or on foot.
If you have vehophobia after an accident, speaking with a therapist could be an essential step towards reclaiming and using your driving skills [source]. Counsellors can use immersion therapy, talk therapy, and other strategies to gradually restore your comfort levels. Best of all, attorneys can make sure that the costs of these services are accounted for by filing a claim.
According to Cohen and Jaffe personal injury lawyers, recoverable damages could also include pain and suffering, current and future medical bills, lost wages, and auto repair costs. After all, you won’t be able to make a total recovery after your accident unless you receive treatment for all of the physical and mental harm that you’ve sustained.
You have a near-constant sense of unease
Even if you’re able to get back into the proverbial saddle and ride again, there can still be ways in which a recent car accident is affecting you emotionally. Absent of vehophobia and post-traumatic stress disorder, you may be living with a pervasive and seemingly constant sense of unease. The feeling that something huge, menacing, and life-threatening is looming just around the corner is not a natural one – especially if you’re feeling it all of the time.
If you’re constantly worried that your loved ones will come to harm after leaving the home or no longer enjoy driving during times of heavy traffic, you might be experiencing the lingering emotional effects of an undeniably jarring experience. Consulting with a therapist can help you get your emotions back on track. There’s no reason to spend the rest of your life worrying about all of the unexpected things that might lie ahead, or letting this worry slow you down.
As you recover from a car crash, you should be able to return to your pre-accident physical and mental health. While bones heal and bruises fade, it’s important to be cognizant of how you’re dealing with this event emotionally. If you find that you’re constantly riddled with fear and less than confident behind the wheel, speaking with a therapist could prove to be an invaluable part of your treatment plan.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.