Can a Car Accident Cause Depression?
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Can a Car Accident Cause Depression?

Learn about the unfortunate effects of car crashes and how to deal with the aftermath.

Can a Car Accident Cause Depression?
Photo by Michael Jin on Unsplash

In the United States, millions of car accidents happen annually. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that 4.4 million people were injured seriously (enough to require medical care) in car accidents in 2019 alone.

Not only do car accidents have an effect on your physical well-being, they affect mental health as well. A study done by British researchers and can be found on Web MD found that at least a third of people involved in non-fatal injury accidents develop post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression, among other mental health complications.

Unfortunately, a large number of these people never end up receiving any care for their mental health complications developed after the car crash.

Car Accident Victims Frequently Struggle With Depression

Studies have consistently proven that sudden spikes in the release of adrenaline from being in a car accident often lead to a difficult emotional re-adjustment. After an accident, many people are unable to properly sleep, worry and anxiety levels jump through the roof, and appetite is often lost.

Being unable to think clearly and function normally in the community, people who've been injured in car accidents commonly experience a roller coaster of emotions including irritability, anger, or anxiety.

Symptoms of Depression

There are many symptoms associated with depression, including:

  • Loss of energy.
  • Restlessness.
  • Migraines.
  • Nausea.
  • Insomnia.
  • Agitation.
  • Unhappiness.

Most people who've been injured in a car accident have some of these symptoms. Sometimes these feelings could be so strong that they affect a person's ability to live a normal life.

Treating Post-Accident Depression

Unfortunately, there is no definitive test to determine the extent of psychological pain. Post accident depression shows itself in different ways depending on the person, and there are many different remedies and treatments for each type.

That's why it is crucial for a person suffering depression after a car accident to seek help from professionals. They must clearly communicate what they're feeling and how it has affected their ability to live normally to a medical professional. A medical professional would determine the right course of treatment and remedy.

Treating Guilt

After an accident occurs, most people might wonder "what they could have done better". This phenomenon is dubbed "survivor's guilt" and is very common among people who've been involved in a serious car crash. People with survivor's guilt often harbor feelings of shame and guilt for being alive and well while others had gotten injured or died. Although in most cases they would not have been able to change the outcome, it still is an issue that needs to be looked into.

There are a couple of things one could do in this situation to accept the reality and cope with these feelings.

  • Take some time off: Give yourself as much time as needed to cope with the situation and grieve in your own way.
  • Have some support: Use your support network of family, a significant other, or friends for emotional support. Find someone to talk to when you're feeling overwhelmed with negative feelings.
  • Start a daily journal: Putting your thoughts in writing can be extremely therapeutic. Make sure you include positive thoughts & experiences in your journal to remind you that things get better over time.

Treating Anger

Part of the uncomfortable aftermath of a car accident is dealing with feelings of anger.

After a car accident, people may begin to lay blames on themselves and people around them; this often leads to feelings of aggression that might lead to larger issues down the line.

It is essential to try and deal with these strong feelings constructively. There won't be any quick fixes such as drug use or alcohol to cope with the situation. There are, however, constructive ways you can deal with your frustrations including:

  • Admit to yourself what you're feeling.
  • Try meditation.
  • Start exercising or going on walks.
  • Take up a new hobby.
  • Speak to a professional.

Beyond Medical Help

After looking after your health, consider speaking to an experienced attorney. The Phoenix car accident attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. mention that "A lawsuit can be the best way to obtain the compensation you deserve after a serious wreck. Recovering damages can help you rebuild your life." Because the personal injury claims process can be overwhelming, speaking with an attorney beforehand can lessen your stress and ensure your claim is submitted correctly.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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