Many people automatically associate post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD, with veterans who have seen terrible things during wars. But the truth is that anyone who has gone through a terrifying event can develop PTSD.
This includes those who have been involved in car accidents. Studies have shown that about 9% of the people who get into accidents each year are affected by PTSD. It can force them to deal with crippling anxiety and other mental health issues.
Are you trying to work your way through anxiety after a car accident? There are some steps you can take to prevent this anxiety from taking a major toll on your life.
Continue reading to learn about several things you can do to alleviate your post-accident anxiety as you move forward with your life.
Write Down Exactly What Happened During Your Accident
In the days, weeks, months, and even years after your car accident, you’re going to find yourself replaying it in your head over and over again. This is going to send your anxiety levels through the roof and do more harm than good.
That’s not to say that you should try to erase the memories of your car accident from your head. But you should do something more constructive with them than just sit and drive yourself crazy over them.
Grab a piece of paper and write down everything that took place when you were involved in your accident. Attempt to remember even the tiniest details. Getting everything down on paper will crystallize your memories and prevent you from playing the “what if?” game while thinking about your accident.
Discuss the Accident With a Family Member, a Friend, or a Therapist
In the immediate aftermath of your accident, a lot of your family members and friends will call and text you to see if you’re OK. Many of them will also tell you that they’re there for you if you need anything.
Take advantage of this! It’s good to sit and talk about a traumatic experience with the right person. It can help you make sense of what happened and help you avoid holding your feelings in.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a family member or friend about your anxiety after a car accident, consider speaking with a therapist about it. They can give you some useful tips as far as managing your anxiety.
You may also want to think about sitting down with one of the Birmingham accident lawyers that are out there. They may be able to ease any worries you have about whether or not you’re responsible for paying medical bills and car repair bills tied to your accident.
Take Things Slow When You Get Back Behind the Wheel
At some point, you’re going to have to get back behind the wheel of your car and drive again following your accident. But don’t rush into it!
Give yourself at least a week or two before you even attempt to climb back into the saddle. And once you get back out on the road, take things slow.
Begin by driving around in empty parking lots and on quiet streets before working your way back up to driving on highways and in heavy traffic. By easing yourself into it, you’ll avoid getting overwhelmed with anxiety after a car accident.
Try Not to Steer Clear of the Scene of Your Accident
If you live close to the scene of your accident, you might be tempted to drive around it so that you don’t have to pass it at any point. But you’re not going to be able to avoid it forever.
You’re better off facing the scene head-on once you feel like you’re ready to do it. It’s going to be an emotional experience for you, but it’ll help you push forward and move on.
If you’re not sure if you’re up for driving by the accident scene on your own, grab a family member or friend and ask them to come along for the ride. They’ll make it easier for you to face your fears.
Consider Signing Up for a Defensive Driving Course
You can drive as carefully as you want when you’re back behind the wheel. But that isn’t going to stop other people from driving erratically and putting you into dangerous positions.
If you’re worried about dealing with other drivers post-accident, you might want to find a defensive driving course—either in your area or even online—and sign up for it. The course will teach you how to predict what other drivers might do and protect yourself in the process.
This will help you get a grip on your anxiety after a car accident. It might also help you lower your auto insurance rate.
Give Yourself Time to Feel Better About the Whole Situation
Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to turn PTSD and anxiety off. No matter how hard you work to manage your mental health, these things might stick around and wreak havoc on your life for a while.
Try not to let this frustrate you. Give yourself time to heal and understand that you’re not going to feel better about your accident overnight. By taking this approach, you’ll start to feel better and experience less anxiety resulting from your accident.
Don’t Allow Anxiety After a Car Accident to Keep You Off the Road
There are some people who swear off driving forever after getting into a car crash. They never get around to finding an effective way to deal with anxiety after a car accident.
Don’t let this be you.
It’s not going to be easy to process and manage the anxiety that comes along with getting into a car crash. But if you commit yourself to doing it and keep chipping away at it, it will happen eventually.
Want to see some of the other ways you can bounce back from a bad car accident? Browse through our blog to find some great advice on getting your life back on the right track.