Car accidents are common in both the first-world and third-world. For example, car accidents take up 18% of all emergency room visits in the US alone.
In the aftermath of a car accident, we’re all forced to deal with the trauma and stress. Some are more severe than others.
Trauma is a physical or emotional injury that can take days or even weeks to recover from. It can impact your life, including how you feel about yourself, how you think about other people, and even how you feel about driving.
You might wonder what to do if you’ve been in an accident and suffer from PTSD. Fortunately, this article discusses ways to cope with trauma after a car accident so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
The following are PTSD symptoms after a car accident:
- Intrusive thoughts or feelings about the accident — including flashbacks and nightmares — that occur during the daytime or when you aren’t asleep
- Avoidance of things or situations that remind you of the crash (these may include avoiding certain people or places)
- An increase in negative feelings like guilt and sadness
- Feeling on edge or jumpy (also known as hypervigilance)
- Trouble falling asleep or sleeping too much (insomnia)
- Irritability and aggression
Ways To Cope with Trauma After a Car Accident
1. Practice self-care
Talk to someone who cares about you - a friend or family member. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing details of your accident with friends or family members right away, try starting by talking about other things that have happened in your life recently. Before discussing the accident, you can talk about work projects or changes at home.
Exercise regularly — even if it’s just walking around the block. Take time out for yourself each day to not constantly worry about your physical health or finances or whatever is on your mind after the accident.
2. Turn off your phone
If you were involved in a car crash, you might be receiving calls and messages from people asking how you are doing and offering their support. While this is a nice gesture on their part, it can also be overwhelming for someone who’s still dealing with the physical and emotional effects of an accident.
If possible, turn off your phone so that you don’t have to deal with these calls and messages until you feel ready to handle them again. Of course, you can always turn it back on later once you feel like your life has returned to normal.
3. Find a therapist
If you have trouble dealing with your emotions after an accident, professional help may be necessary. A counselor/therapist can help you explore your feelings and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with stressors related to your accident.
Some therapists specialize in treating people who have experienced trauma related to car accidents or other types of personal injury claims. Your therapist must have experience helping people recover from car accident trauma to know how best to help.
4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
The best way to cope with trauma after a car accident is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This means eating well, meditation, and getting enough sleep. It also means avoiding any activities that might make you feel worse, such as drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
It’s essential to listen to what your body tells you after an accident and how it’s reacting to the trauma. If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety or stress, such as trouble sleeping or concentrating, it’s best to talk to your doctor about treatment.
While no one wants to be in an accident, it’s essential to realize that you can recover from the experience physically and emotionally. So, while it takes time and patience, the results are worth it!
5. Focus on the present
When dealing with trauma after an accident, it can be easy to get stuck in the past or worry about what will happen next. For example, if you’re not feeling well after the accident, think about ways to feel better now instead of worrying about the surgery day. Focus on being present, and don’t overthink about the future until you’ve healed from your injuries.
6. Take time off work if necessary
While you may be eager to return to work after an accident, sometimes it’s best to take some time off instead — especially if you are still experiencing emotional distress due to the crash or have been injured physically and emotionally. If possible, try to get some time off to focus on recovering and not worry about getting back into work right away after an accident that’s left you feeling shaken up.
One important thing to remember about coping with trauma after a car accident is that everyone responds differently. What might have little effect on your friend may help you deal with the aftermath of an injury. So, seek support and advice from friends and family in coping with everything that rushed into place after an accident, whether minor or severe. The tips we mentioned above should come in handy if you suffer trauma from a car accident.