Psychological Effects of Car Accidents

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A car accident, regardless of the intensity and the damage, can be a nerve-wracking experience. Aside from the financial burden and physical pain, car crash victims who get treatment at Ritecare Medical Center auto clinic in Hialeah come in struggling with the emotional scars that could lead to a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A study in the journal of Medicine revealed that survivors of road traffic accidents are 22.5% more likely to develop psychiatric disorders, especially if they were not able to process their experience well. Experts also project that the psychological effects of car accidents could become the third leading cause of disability if the condition is mitigated, or not managed as soon as the signs occur. 

Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident

You’re likely suffering from the psychological effects of a car accident if you experience the following tell-tale signs:

  • Your heart races and your chest tightens when you hear a car engine, horn or when brakes go off.
  • Your mind relives memories of the accident over and over. 
  • Your shoulder and neck muscles tense up even during short car rides.
  • You also refuse to get back to driving. 
  • You’re more wary of what’s around you and see these as potential threats. 
  • Even if you managed to drive, you avoid certain locations, or have imagined fears while you’re behind the wheel.

Over time, these signs may disappear as you slowly get back to your normal routine. However, there are some car crash victims who develop new psychological symptoms like insomnia, mood swings and quick anger, phobias, and feelings of detachment or estrangement. These are the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Managing the Psychological Effects as Car Crash Victims

When it comes to emotional scars, talking about the victim’s feelings regarding the accident to family members and friends can help reduce the stress-related trauma. In some cases, regular visits to a therapist might be warranted, especially if the symptoms have been affecting the victim’s daily routines, such as creating a difficulty in sleeping. 

According to an Oxford University study, car accident victims who have attended at least 10.5 sessions with a professional therapist decrease their PTSD risk by 47%. Those who undergo cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), on the other hand, reduce their risk by 67%, and 73% following succeeding sessions three months after the completion of CBT. 

But aside from psychological therapy, car accident victims may also deal with stress-related trauma through mindfulness and meditation exercises. A study in the Journal of Psychiatry Neuroscience has revealed that mindfulness-based PTSD treatments help victims to stop blaming themselves for the accident, thus clearing the path for better healing.

For other patients, taking a defensive driving course can also be a good coping mechanism.  Others also embrace breathing exercises, hypnotherapy, or yoga. 

Learn more about Ritecare Medical Center in Hialeah

The earlier the psychological effects of car accidents are addressed, the quicker the victim can heal from the trauma. However, it is also important for the person to recognize that she needs someone’s help to facilitate recovery. Schedule an appointment with us at Ritecare Urgent Care Medical Center in Hialeah to get the best treatment options for you.

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.