Mental Health: What to Expect After a Car Accident

It is quite normal to feel overpowering emotions after being involved in a car accident. Once the initial impact goes away, you will be left dealing with a wide range of emotions. If you need help managing your mental health after an accident, you should find it. Once you figure out the initial, practical steps to take after a car accident, you will feel more peaceful.

In most cases, the traumatic event occurs quickly and you are usually powerless to stop it. From this point of view, the emotional effects after a car accident make more sense and they include:

Shock, Denial, and Disbelief

Immediately after an accident and a few days afterwards, you will experience shock. This might feel different for everyone, but the common symptoms of shock include feelings of numbness, emotional distress, and unpredictable mood swings. You might feel shock even if you were not behind the wheel at the time of the accident.

Anger, Agitation, and Irritability

After you are involved in an accident, you might feel some anger towards the person who was driving the other car. If you are a passenger, you might be angry with both drivers. If these feelings of agitation continue, you might start taking it out on innocent people.

You can deal with anger by learning a few simple relaxation-breathing exercises that will help you to calm down. Although anger is a valid part of your reaction, you do not have to act on it. If you are a parent whose child is dealing with anger issues after an accident, he or she might not want your support.

In such cases, you should allow your child to turn to friends while keeping the lines of communication open. Even if helping someone to recover from an accident might be hard, every effort that you make will mean a huge difference.

Guilt, Self-blame, and Hate

If you were driving at the time of the accident, you might blame yourself, especially if you think that the accident was preventable. In some cases, even witnesses might feel guilty for not being able to stop the crash. Whenever you feel guilty, you should remember that your expectations are not realistic and that accidents happen.

Fear, Worry, and Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural feeling after a stressful incident like an accident. Though not everyone feels anxious following an accident, those who experience it usually recover with time.

Common symptoms of anxiety include:

–          Worry

–          Irritability

–          Inability to relax

–          Lack of energy

–          Unwanted thoughts

–          Difficulty concentrating

The easiest way to get rid of anxiety is to talk about whatever is troubling you. Make sure that you talk about your problems to people that you trust. Returning to your normal schedule is also a great way to get rid of anxiety. Remember to take care of yourself by eating a balanced diet and getting enough shuteye.

When the Anxiety Does Not Go Away

If your feelings of anxiety last longer than 3 months and prevent you from living a normal life, you need to consult a professional. This might mean that you have developed a disorder such as PTSD, which involves constant flashbacks and feelings of distress whenever you think about the event. Seeing a therapist does not mean that you are crazy, it only means that you need help managing your thoughts.

Social Withdrawal and Isolation

When you are in shock, it is natural to isolate yourself to avoid people who want to bring up the accident. You should counter feelings of isolation by surrounding yourself with friends and family who can offer reassurance.

 

Image courtesy of [Phil_Bird] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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