A bad car accident can leave a serious impact on your daily life. Many people suffer deeper than their physical wounds may suggest.
The accident can leave behind mental and emotional trauma. Many people only associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with war. However, many traumatic events can lead to PTSD, including a bad vehicle accident.
You may experience flashbacks, overwhelming anxiety, or fear about driving, and find yourself triggered by any reminders. Know that you’re not alone and that you can combat PTSD after a car accident.
Dealing with PTSD After a Car Accident
Fortunately, there are coping mechanisms that will help you treat stress-related trauma. Keep reading to learn 7 tips for healing emotional trauma after a car accident.
1. Deal With the Accident
Accidents dump an overwhelming amount of responsibility onto a person. On top of dealing with your injuries, you need to deal with insurance, automotive repairs, and legal issues.
You may want to avoid these issues. However, they will only weigh you down. Handling them promptly will help lessen your anxiety and help you move forward.
This site offers legal assistance to get you the proper compensation for your physical and mental injuries the accident caused. If you feel too overwhelmed to do it all alone, ask friends and family members to help you find a good repair shop and help you with making insurance claims.
Taking care of these daunting details immediately will take some of the pressure off of you. Then you can better assess how severely the accident itself impacted your mental state.
2. Seek Help Immediately
If you experience symptoms of PTSD following your crash, do not brush them off. Trauma creates both physical and chemical changes in the brain. These changes will not simply get better with time.
In fact, ignoring them may make it worse. When let go, PTSD can affect a person’s life for years, leaving them always feeling anxious or fearful, and pushing them to avoid normal situations.
Avoiding getting into a vehicle can eventually lead to social isolation and loss of employment. Both outcomes create their own host of emotional problems.
Avoid these repercussions by seeking professional help as soon as you notice any delayed shock symptoms after an accident.
Start with a visit to your doctor. They treat your immediate symptoms and refer you to a psychotherapist and/or psychiatrist.
Your doctor may recommend and prescribe:
- group therapy
- cognitive behavioral therapy
The sooner you see your doctor, the sooner you can get your life back on track.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness refers to a mental state achieved by keeping yourself in the present moment. By acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and physical state, you help yourself choose happiness.
Meditation helps achieve a state of mindfulness. Set aside 10-20 minutes and find a quiet, comfortable space. Set an alarm, so you do not worry about the time while meditating.
You can use a guided meditation recording, play relaxing music, or simply sit in quiet. Focus on your breath and try a mantra, like Aham Prema” (ah-hem-pree-mah), which translates to “I am Divine Love.”
This will rid your mind of fear and anxiety and bring you into the now. You can simply feel without judging your feelings, so you may release the emotions plaguing you.
4. Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude forces your mind into a state of happiness. It does so by switching your current focus and even altering past and present situations.
For instance, if you look at your car accident as something terrible that happened to you, then you carry with you a horrific trauma. However, if you constantly express your gratitude for the positive in it, then you move forward with blessings.
When you feel overwhelmed by the trauma, shift your focus by saying:
- I am grateful for coming out alive
- I am thankful this incident brought certain friends and family closer to me
Focus on every bit of good. Rejoice in every step in your recovery, despite how small. Your perception will change the situation and help you heal from the PTSD.
5. Go for Acupuncture Treatments
Many medications that alleviate symptoms of PTSD also cause unwanted side effects. Try acupuncture as a safe and effective alternative to treating both physical and emotional trauma after a car accident.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the release of natural chemicals that boost the bodies healing power and impact the brain. An Eastern view also suggests that the needles help to direct the flow of energy in the body. Due to positive results, this practice continues to grow throughout the Western world.
Sometimes emotions build up so fiercely that we need to find an outlet of release before we figuratively explode. Writing serves as such an outlet.
Some people find journaling their feelings, activities, and progress to help them through difficult situations. You can also write about your car accident as a way to help others who experience PTSD. This uses your trauma to empower you, making you feel more powerful over the situation.
Often, people find it difficult to talk directly about a traumatic event. In this case, use creative writing to explore your feelings and release your emotions. You can safely do so through a poem or story, using writing tools like metaphor and personification.
Whether you scribble nonsense or craft a powerful piece, write your way through PTSD. It will help you see that the accident only took up a chapter of your life and you hold the power to continue your story.
7. Face Your Fear
Psychologists learned long ago that the best way to help a person overcome a phobia is to gradually expose them to the thing they fear. PTSD creates phobias, and you can help yourself overcome it by facing it.
Do not terrify yourself and worsen the trauma. Start small.
For instance, if you feel too terrified to get into a vehicle, start by reading positive things about cars and driving. Also, look at pictures of cars that interest you.
Take little steps forward like carrying around your keys and eventually sitting in a stationary vehicle. Move up to taking a short drive with a friend, and so on.
The longer you wait to do this, the more it will affect you. To reverse your emotional trauma, you need to bring back your feeling of safety. Remind yourself of how beneficial and enjoyable driving can be.
Your Road to Recovery
It may take you time to heal. Stay patient with yourself as you recover from PTSD after a car accident. Use these coping mechanisms to help you through.
Get yourself excited about hopping back into the driver’s sea by reading travel articles on our website! You made it through and now there’s no limit on where you can go.