6 Tips For Caring For Your Mental Health Following An Accident

6 Tips For Caring For Your Mental Health Following An Accident

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FILE: Driver Making Phone Call After Traffic Accident

If you’re ever involved in a car accident not only will you have physical injuries to deal with, you’re also going to have mental injuries to recover from. For many people, the recovery process is a simple one, but for some people, the emotional scars can take a lot longer to heal. Whether you’re a passenger, driver, pedestrian or observer, it’s not the severity of the crash or any resulting injuries, but how the crash is perceived, that can decide how you respond.

Perceiving an accident as life-threatening or if someone is killed in the accident makes many people feel anxious. Worrying, irritability, lacking energy, difficulty concentrating, feeling upset or angry, confused, tired or out-of-control are all symptoms of anxiety. It can also make you feel very unsociable and lead to problems with personal relationships. The good news is that you can recover from anxiety. People tend to concentrate on physical injuries when recovering from an accident but it’s also important to make sure you’re taking the necessary steps for your emotional recovery. Here are some things you should be doing.

Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette--
Thursday, November 13, 2014– New Alexandria and Crabtree Vol. Fire Depts. along with others comfort and work to extract a woman who was trapped in her flipped over SUV along Rt. 22 at the intersection of Rt. 119 in Westmoreland County on Thursday, November 13, 2014. | Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette

Look After Yourself

When you’ve had a traumatic experience, you need time to heal so be patient with yourself and don’t try to rush the recovery process. Talking to someone about the accident might help; particular a friend, family member or counselor you feel comfortable with. People often neglect themselves when they feel anxious, so try to eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly. Also, try to avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or taking drugs that haven’t been prescribed to you by your doctor.

Depression, Karla Culbertson, Christie Matherne, Maria Fraschilla
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Understand Emotions are Normal

Acknowledge the emotions you feel as they as part of the natural healing process. Shock, anxiety, anger and other emotions are normal in the days and weeks following a car accident. The length of time it takes to alleviate these emotions is going to be different for individual people.


When to Get Help

Seek medical advice if you don’t see an improvement in your symptoms after three months. You should also get professional advice if they are interfering with your normal life because you may be suffering an anxiety disorder.

Driving Again

Getting back in the car and driving again is a necessity for many people, but some may find it extremely difficult. The best advice for anyone struggling to get back in the car is to take it slowly with small steps. Ask for help from people around you.


Take Legal Advice

The legal process of dealing with a car accident can be long and draw out and is not something you have to do on your own. You’re much better off seeking the help and advice of a legal professional or a compensation company, particularly if you want to make a whiplash injury claim.

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Treatment and Support

With the right kind of support, it’s possible to recover from a car accident. If you’re struggling with your emotions, the best person to talk to in the first instance is your family doctor. They’ll talk to you about your feelings and refer you to other health practitioners, social workers, counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists who will be able to help treat your anxiety.


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