Physical injuries suffered in a car accident are typically visible, and therefore easier for people to understand than the internal struggle of emotional trauma. However, a recent British study of 1,000 men and women suggests that at least one-third of nonfatal auto accidents result in emotional complications, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and long-term phobias. Most of the study participants recovered from the psychological effects within three to 12 months, but others developed long-term complications and symptoms lasting for a year or more.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, and Phobias
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident every 10 seconds in the United States. Even minor accidents can have a profoundly traumatic effect. Following an accident, an individual may feel general anxiety about traveling, or passing the location of the accident. This anxiety can affect your work, relationships, and overall well-being.
The most important step in recovering from emotional trauma is recognizing the problem and seeking help. Alan Steinberg, PhD., UCLA’s Trauma Psychiatry Program director, says if you still feel anxious, depressed, or emotionally vulnerable after three months have passed, you should seek help from a mental health professional. Make sure this person is qualified to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Treatment options include relaxation and breathing exercises, medications, and anxiety management, among others.
“These kinds of reactions are normal and to be expected in the [short-term] aftermath of whatever has happened, “ says Steinberg, “I don’t think people should run to a psychiatrist or psychologist a week or two after. But if they start to become persistent, that’s a sign that they may become [long-term] and can become very debilitating.” Children are especially vulnerable to phobias and anxiety following an accident. If their parents are voicing fears about the accident, the child may feel as though he or she shouldn’t add to the worry. Children also have a more active imagination and may have a distorted understanding of what can actually happen. For example, a young child may think the car will explode or drive off a cliff just as easily as it got into the fender bender.
Law Offices of Carey, Danis & Lowe
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be well acquainted with the physical, financial, and emotional scars it can leave behind. The St. Louis law firm of Carey, Danis & Lowe understands what you are going through. We have worked with countless victims of motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents, car accidents, and those involving large trucks. If you have been injured, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, transportation costs, emotional trauma, lost wages, and more. Contact the team of Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation today.