How to Deal with PTSD After Car Accidents

ptsd after car accidents

Car accidents are considered traumatic events? A traumatic event can be anything that makes you feel threatened or unsafe. It’s common to develop PTSD after car accidents.

Around 70% of the population in the United States has experienced a traumatic event. Of those people, 20% develop symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

What Is PTSD?

It’s a psychiatric disorder caused by experiencing a traumatic event. The trauma doesn’t even have to directly affect you. You can have PTSD just by witnessing a traumatic event.

PTSD symptoms include:

  • Strong, disturbing thoughts surrounding the trauma
  • Intense sadness, fear and anxiety about the event
  • Anger or rage that it happened to you
  • Nightmares
  • Reliving the event
  • Avoiding situations related to the trauma

If you think you have PTSD, see your doctor for help. Symptoms can get worse if left untreated.

PTSD After Car Accidents

Wondering how to deal with PTSD symptoms after your car accident? Here are a few things that help.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

You’re probably experiencing a lot of strong feelings after your car accident. Fear, anxiety, unease and even anger are all common feelings to have after a traumatic event. They can cause you to relive the moment and have nightmares.

It can help to make a list of those feelings. Start a journal and write them down when you have them. Try to understand and accept how you feel.

You experienced something scary and life-threatening! What you are feeling is real and valid. Acknowledging how you feel is a step in the healing process.

Confide in a Friend

You need to talk about it. Speaking about the event brings it out into the open and helps you confront the realities of it.

Tell a trusted friend or family member the details of the accident. Choose someone who can handle the emotions you’ll show. Your trauma is very personal.

Get Back To Your Life

Sooner or later, you’ll need to get back to your life. Sooner is better. Getting back into your routine can help normalize your thoughts and feelings.

Driving after your accident is especially important. It’s part of life and you’ll want to feel comfortable doing it.

Consider taking a driving course to help give you confidence behind the wheel, again. Check with your insurance company for recommendations. Companies like Esurance are always willing to help their clients after an accident.

Seek Professional Help

Dealing with symptoms of PTSD after car accidents can require a professional. Look for a counselor with specific training to treat PTSD. Your counselor needs experience in common PTSD treatments like exposure, cognitive and behavioral therapies.

Medication is sometimes necessary to deal with PTSD symptoms for a while. Your counselor needs to have the resources available to get prescriptions if you need it. Plan to follow up to treat symptoms and assess your progress.

Don’t Suffer Alone

It’s tough dealing with PTSD after car accidents. You don’t need to suffer alone. Follow the advice above and get some help.

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