When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the last thing you might be concerned with is the emotional and psychological effects that it can have. Many times, the physical pain, soreness, swelling and bruising are hard to ignore and immediate medical attention is required in order to heal your body. It is common to think of the physical injuries that can occur with car accidents, but injuries are not always physical. What is often overlooked following serious motor vehicle accidents is an increased risk for psychological problems such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can develop after any type of traumatizing event and car accidents, especially violent ones, can certainly be traumatizing enough to cause PTSD.
When someone survives a traumatic event, it is difficult to predict the long-term emotional side effects. Not every person will suffer from emotional distress serious enough to require professional medical treatment. However, some car accident survivors do go on to experience severe emotional trauma which can result in many life-affecting symptoms that could be related to a brain injury. These symptoms include stress, depression, anxiety and panic attacks. After being involved in a serious car accident, survivors have reported experiencing feelings of shock, panic, anger, nervousness, worry, fear, loneliness, embarrassment or uneasiness. Some car accident victims have reported suffering from mood swings, chronic fatigue or exhaustion, and loss of appetite. Often times, they find themselves reliving the accident through nightmares and flashbacks. These symptoms can be debilitating and can cause the sufferer to become avoidant, to withdraw themselves socially and to isolate themselves from their family, friends and work. Often times the trauma of the accident can render them unable to drive, or even be a passenger in a vehicle out of fear of another accident.
These feelings may arise immediately after the accident, or in the days, weeks or even months following. It is common to not fully realize that you have been emotionally effected by a traumatic event until some time has passed, especially if you are preoccupied with following the course of treatment prescribed by the healthcare professionals focused on healing your body physically. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and that any of these symptoms have begun to interfere with your normal, everyday life, it may be time to seek help. Thankfully, there are many effective treatments for stress-related trauma. It is important that you reach out to your doctor or mental health professional to discuss your symptoms and the possible treatment plans that can help you return to your daily life.