How to Overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Car Accident
Car accidents are a common phenomenon. According to WHO, around 1.3 million people die annually from car accidents worldwide. Coming to the USA alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated accident fatalities to be over 42,900 in 2021.
If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know it can be a life-altering event. You may feel like the world is on your shoulders and that nothing will ever be the same again. This feeling is completely normal, and many people who have been in accidents find themselves experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or trauma after an accident.
If you’re experiencing these feelings, don’t worry. There are ways to overcome them. Here are some tips for how to deal with PTSD after a car accident:
Understand That Your Emotional State Post-Accident Is Normal
It’s not unusual to feel sad, angry, guilty, and depressed after a car accident. You may also feel anxious or numb, making it difficult to get back into your normal routine. Your body and mind are going through many changes as you recover from the physical injuries you sustained in the collision. The emotional impact of what happened can be just as severe as the physical effects.
Suppose this is your first time dealing with trauma. In that case, you may find yourself experiencing these feelings on top of other preexisting mental health issues like anxiety or depression that were already present before the accident occurred. All of these can have significant consequences.
Recognize When You Need Professional Help
If you’ve made it this far and you’re still thinking, “I don’t need help,” think again. If you constantly feel like your life is spiraling out of control and that nothing can stop it, or if the anxiety keeps getting worse no matter what you do to try and calm down, then yes, you need professional help.
It is best to get help from a professional therapist after an accident. A therapist can help you deal with the trauma by listening to your story and providing emotional support. They can also provide advice on how to cope with the situation, including strategies for reducing anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions that may be overwhelming you.
For the best experience, find a therapist who can offer in-person and online consulting. Naturally, you might not want to travel to the therapist’s office after a car accident. Hence, finding someone who offers teletherapy can be beneficial.
Don’t worry. It will be as effective as in-person therapies. In fact, a recent survey of 1,200 people found that a whopping 63% of respondents who tried teletherapy found it very effective.
Rest and Sleep
You will be healing, even when you don’t feel like it. Rest and sleep are essential for your health and well-being, but they also help the body heal. Your body needs time to repair itself after an injury, especially a traumatic one that can cause pain and swelling. The more rest you give your body during this time, the faster it will recover from injuries sustained in an accident.
Sleep is just as important as rest because it allows your brain to shut down so it can process everything that happened during the day, including any traumatic events or frightening moments which may contribute towards PTSD symptoms later on down the road if not dealt with properly now!
However, getting sound sleep during PTSD can be challenging. According to the data in an article published in the Frontiers journal, sleep disturbances are a common condition in PTSD, and between 70% to 90% of patients experience them. This means you will have to create a sleeping schedule and follow other tips to help you get a sound night’s sleep.
Stay Connected With Loved Ones
You should also stay connected with loved ones. Car accidents are traumatic, and no one can say how you will react. Feelings of isolation may start to creep in after a crash, but it’s important not to isolate yourself from friends or family. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, having social support, especially from and for the family, is crucial for preventing and helping with PTSD.
You might also want to consider talking with a therapist if your symptoms persist for more than three weeks after the accident. Your doctor may be able to recommend someone who specializes in helping patients overcome post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Talking things out with a professional can be incredibly helpful and therapeutic. Having an outlet where you can get these thoughts off your chest is vital for overcoming PTSD after an accident.
Treatment for PTSD
After your car accident, you may have experienced significant stress. You may have also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a traumatic brain injury that can cause anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares. If you received treatment after the car accident, it’s essential to continue this care to manage symptoms of PTSD.
Here are some treatment options:
- Medication: Several different medications can help relieve symptoms of PTSD. Your doctor will work with you to determine which will work best for your situation.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy helps people change how they think about situations or events by teaching them how their thoughts affect their emotions and behaviors. The therapist will work with you to identify what triggers your anxiety and help you learn how to manage it.
- Group therapy: This type of therapy is good for people who suffer from PTSD because it allows them to interact with others who are going through similar experiences. It also teaches them how to change their negative thoughts, which can reduce anxiety and depression.
- Stress management: This therapy teaches people how to manage stress, so it doesn’t build up over time.
In the end, the best way to deal with PTSD after a car accident is to know that you’re not alone. You may have been riding in a car that another driver hit, or your loved ones may have also suffered injuries. No matter what happened during the accident, it’s important to remember that there are people who can help you through this challenging time and ensure that everyone recovers physically and emotionally.