If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may have spent most of your time worrying about your physical injuries and well-being. However, taking care of your mental and emotional health after a traumatic event is just as important. Car accidents can have a devastating effect on your mental health, and you may need to address issues related to this after a crash.
Looking for help as you start your personal injury claim? It’s time to talk to the Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell team. Call our Chatom office at 251-336-3411 or our Bay Minette office at 251-336-3697 to set up a consultation now.
Psychological Effects of Car Accidents
Car accidents cause enormous distress to victims, even those who aren’t physically injured. Many people are shocked by their psychological response to a crash—while they expect to remain cool and calm under pressure, they experience shock, fear, anxiety, and anger, among other negative emotions. Car accidents can be particularly traumatizing if they lead to severe or fatal injuries. Again, while those who suffer injuries directly experience the most psychological trauma, those who witness the crash may also experience mental health issues.
Immediately after a crash, survivors may experience a massive jolt of adrenaline. As this subsides, they are able to process what happened in the crash. The fight-or-flight of adrenaline gives way to anxiety, panic, uncertainty, and hopelessness. In extreme cases, victims may dissociate. This occurs when people mentally detach from the world around them and numb themselves to what is happening. Some report that it feels like watching themselves and their surroundings from far away, rather than actually experiencing it.
How Car Accidents Impact Your Emotions
Victims may experience significant emotional repercussions after a car accident. Even the most emotionally regulated individual may feel out of control after a crash. Severe mood swings are fairly common and often happen without any apparent cause.
Overwhelming fear is commonly reported, with many people so afraid of another accident that they refuse to get in a car again. Once survivors begin to recover, they may be afflicted with anxiety again when they remember how unpredictably the accident occurred and realize that it could happen again at any time.
This can take a major toll on a victim and their loved ones. While they may start out leaning on others for support, they may pull away as time passes. This is a devastating cycle, as the isolation further pushes the individual into depression and makes it harder for them to recover.
Long-Term Mental Health Concerns
Some car accident victims experience profound mental health issues after a crash. Potential diagnoses include post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder. Outcomes vary widely, depending on how quickly an individual seeks help, how committed they are to treatment, and the severity of their accident.
Significant mental health issues can affect every part of a victim’s life. They may have a hard time returning to life as it was before the crash, struggle to be productive at work, pull away from friends, and fail to take care of day-to-day tasks.
Treatment and Support Options
In general, prompt assessment and treatment are associated with better outcomes for those who experience trauma after an accident. That’s why it is so important for victims to meet with a mental health professional after a collision. Individuals may benefit from the use of psychiatric medications, trauma-informed counseling, and mental health support groups for those processing trauma.
Mental healthcare is very expensive in the United States, and accident victims may need help getting the treatment they need. This is just one reason you should consider a personal injury claim after being hurt in a crash. The compensation you may receive from a successful claim can help you get the mental healthcare and support you need.
Start Your Personal Injury Claim with Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell
If you’ve been injured in a car crash in Chatom or Bay Minette, the team of personal injury lawyers at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough & Howell can help you. Let’s start with a free consultation where we can learn more about your accident and its effect on your life. Call our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483, call our Chatom office at 251-847-2237, or send us a message online.