Psychological Injuries After A Car Accident Can Be Greater Than The Physical Ones

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Car accidents are terrifying events that occur that can leave its victims injured in a variety of ways. It is not just the physical injuries that you have to worry about, but also consider the mental and psychological effects that result from being involved in a car accident. Here are some important aspects regarding psychological injuries and how to address them.

Intrusive Symptoms Of PTSD 

There are many potential signals and identifiers that may be revealed after you have had an accident. These range in terms of the symptoms that are shown, as well as their severity. You may experience flashbacks, recurring thoughts of the accident, even experiencing the sensations that are associated with the accident such as smelling fire, burnt rubber, or other smells from the accident, as well as hearing sounds that you remember. These intrusive symptoms may come up anytime during the day and invade your life without you being near a car or other triggers. 


Getting back in a vehicle, even as a passenger can also trigger negative emotions. The car accident attorneys in Charleston see many people that feel extremely anxious at the sheer thought of driving again after they have been involved in an accident. They can take months and even years to get back behind the wheel. These types of symptoms that arise when you are near or in a car would be issues that you can avoid, but are still disruptive since vehicles and cars are everywhere and for some people, key methods of their transportation and daily functioning. 


In addition to these previously explored symptoms, other symptoms that you can experience include arousal symptoms, and you will recognize these as difficulties sleeping, being more easily startled as that response has become more sensitive, and your anxiety has increased, translating to stomach pains, headaches, feeling as though you are having a heart attack. Your body is on extra alert after having experienced an accident, and you are unable to properly function due to your nerve systems constantly being on high alert. This has negative impacts, as you will find it much more difficult to sleep at night, which would leave you feeling drowsy and tired of being in such a state that expends a great deal of energy all the time, eventually making you feel fatigued. 

Negative Cognitions

There are also going to be lingering psychological effects that many people experience after an accident that translates to their way of thinking. You might have the mindset that the accident was your fault, and be constantly putting yourself down for thinking of what you could have done differently to change the outcome and prevent the accident. You could also harber negative emotions towards the other driver and not necessarily blame yourself, depending on the situation. Those negative feelings of resentment or even hatred may remain with you for a long time, which would have a negative impact on your overall health and be detrimental.

Ways That Increase Psychological Damage

When you are looking at the risks of post traumatic stress and why its symptoms can either last longer or result in more significant lingering damage, you need to look at the feelings you experienced during and before the accident. A lot of this is attributed to the fact that many people feel helpless, as though at the time of the accident, there was nothing they could do when the accident was happening, and those involved were forced to watch the events unfold. This can also occur after the accident, where occupants and those involved froze in a time where they could react, whether that would be assisting people that were trapped or trying to get out themselves. Depending on the severity of the accident, the potential fatalities involved, can all contribute to the severity of your psychological trauma felt afterwards.

Dealing With Your Mental Health After The Accident

A great amount of anxiety and trauma can result from an accident, as previously discussed. There are ways to help minimize the effects of trauma and long term damage. If response units and emergency personnel can get to the scene of the accident and treat the victims faster, the less the impact of the trauma will have on a person’s mental health. The faster the person is able to calm down, with lower heart rate and less associations to make with the accident, the easier it will be for the person to regain feelings of safety, and likely will not have as many lingering effects. As difficult as it may be to get behind a wheel or in a vehicle after an accident, it actually is more beneficial to face your fears. The longer you avoid the situations that cause major anxiety, the more your fears and negative psychological emotions and associations will be towards these triggers. It is best to take a slow but progressive approach than it is to completely avoid the trauma altogether. Because psychological injuries are major concerns, it is also important to seek out treatment that can come in a variety of forms to assist with your mental health. The faster you get treatment, the easier it will be to combat trauma. Avoid self medication of alcohol or drugs, because although these can provide temporary relief, your overall health will start to form dependencies in order to avoid PTSD, and a lack of such substances can then trigger a stronger response and be left with more anxieties. One of the most popular and effective ways of dealing with PTSD and neurological and psychological trauma is through EMDR which is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. This can be done as an individual therapy or paired with other methods. It is best to seek medical help and guidance to best treat your psychological injuries.

Even after you heal physically from your injuries, psychological injuries can linger and take much longer to recover from. They can affect your day to day life long after an accident, which is why they can sometimes be worse than the physical injuries sustained in an accident. It is important to know the different ways you can be psychologically affected, but also understand how to treat them and how to heal from them.

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