Car accidents can lead to different types of injuries, including some that can have a life-altering impact. The injured may have to get extensive treatment to get back to a normal life, and in some cases, they may never be the same again. While physical injuries are more obvious, mental health issues caused by car accidents can be more dangerous, as they can last longer, and are often neglected. Let us explore some of the common mental health issues faced by victims of car accidents.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
One of the most common conditions caused by a car accident is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the American Psychological Association, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD, but it might be difficult to spot symptoms of PTSD after the accident. The most common symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, feelings of isolation, and hyper-alertness. Even a “near-miss” car accident can leave someone feeling traumatized by the incident.
Depression is a mental health condition that is often overlooked as many people believe that it does not require treatment and will eventually resolve itself. However, this is a misconception as depression is a serious problem that requires attention. When a car accident survivor has depression, they might suffer from feelings of sadness or loss of interest in activities. The severity of depression can vary but it should be addressed as soon as possible.
Car accidents can also result in anxiety for the survivors. Common symptoms of anxiety include avoidance behaviors, fear of driving, and panic attacks. Anxiety can also result in physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, and trembling. Patients who suffer from severe anxiety due to car accident trauma may no longer be able to drive or even be in a vehicle.
Guilt is a common emotion suffered by car accident victims. The feelings of guilt are typically a result of self-blame, where the victim feels responsible for hurting themselves or others. Guilt can often be fueled by thinking about different scenarios that could have been. The long-term impact of guilt can interfere with daily functioning and quality of life.
Car accident victims can have difficulty falling and staying asleep as a result of the mental anguish and distress caused by the car accident. In the worst cases of sleep disturbance, the victim can suffer from insomnia, which has several negative consequences for physical and mental health. Severe and persistent sleep disturbance or deprivation can lead to hypervigilance, hallucinations, and restlessness.
Coping and treatment methods for mental health conditions include changes in lifestyle, medication, therapy, and support from friends and family. In some cases, mental health issues are caused by the financial stress that resulted from the accident. If you suffered an accident due to someone else’s fault, you can consult an attorney to determine if you can seek compensation for your suffering through a lawsuit. Injury attorneys can also share advice on coping mechanisms and treatment for mental health issues