In the United States, there are more than 6 million car crashes that lead to fatalities, injuries, and property damage each year. For many, recovering from these traumatic incidents is challenging.
But, many assume that accident recovery is a physical process. In fact, for most, the emotional shock has a more serious impact on our well-being than the physical injuries.
The trauma of an accident can lead to a range of emotional effects including intense anxiety and in some cases, depression. Unfortunately, these symptoms can last for months or years. Not only this, knowing how to deal with them and treat them can be challenging.
With this in mind, here is a guide on facing trauma head on and how to overcome the emotional shock of an accident.
Seeking Help From the Right People
Some physical injuries appear straight away. Others can take time to develop. But, emotional ones can take longer to pop up. In fact, it can be months before you realize there is something wrong.
It’s normal for people in an accident to get symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Not only this, you may suffer from anxiety and depression.
The key to overcoming your physical and emotional injuries is to seek help from the right people. Here are some examples of people that can help you through this difficult time:
Get Medical Advice From a Doctor
After an accident, you may feel fine. But, it’s important that you seek medical advice anyway. Go to the doctors and get a full check up. If an ambulance is on site, let the medics check you for any serious signs of injury.
This is especially relevant to head traumas. Often, head injuries can manifest themselves at a later date. You may have a concussion and not even know about it. A doctor or medic will tell you straight away whether you need extra medical attention.
If you’re worried that your health insurance won’t cover the costs, contact them. They will give you the relevant information about your policy. They’ll also tell you what they need from you to make a claim.
Ask For Guidance From Your Lawyer
If you’re in a crash, you need to get legal advice. A lawyer will help you understand the situation. They’ll give you the help you need to get the compensation you deserve.
Many assume that the best way to get compensation for a crash is to phone their car insurance company. But, your attorney will help you by giving you all your options. From there, you can establish the best course of action.
Also, don’t forget that there are various types of road crashes. In fact, there are more than 800 cyclist fatalities and almost 230 buses involved in fatal crashes each year. With this in mind, there are now specific lawyers for specific types of crashes. No matter what type of accident you’re in, you should contact a lawyer in your area right away.
Your lawyer will help you gather evidence from the crash site. Their job is to take care of the legal side of things so that you have more time to recover from this traumatic event.
Don’t Push Away Your Friends and Family
Friends and family will want to help you through this difficult time. It’s important that you try not to push them away. They will offer you the support you need to recover more quickly, both on a physical and emotional level.
There are various symptoms of emotional shock you could suffer from after an accident. Some of these include:
- Denial or disbelief
- Anger or irritability
- Guilt or shame
- Anxiety or fear
- Depression or extreme sadness
Don’t pretend to be fine. Talk to your loved ones about the emotions you’re going through. The best way to overcome bad car wrecks is by facing your trauma head on so you can move forward.
Also, listen their advice. If they’re worried about you and feel you should seek professional support, it may be worth listening to them.
Overcoming the Emotional Shock
If you have holiday or sick days you can use, take some time off work. Even if it’s just for one day, give yourself time to recover. Have a duvet day and replenish your energy levels.
You may feel fine the day after your accident but emotions can creep up on you. Take one day to digest what happened. Additionally remember that physical symptoms can pop up in response to emotional distress. Some of these include:
- Heart palpitations
- Headaches and migraines
- Stomach cramps
- Crying spells
- Muscle spasms and tension
These are all normal. That said, if the symptoms don’t subside over time, you should seek medical advice from your GP.
Don’t forget, medical advice can go further than a physical check up. It’s important you get professional help from a therapist or other medical professional if you suffer from the following symptoms:
- Flashbacks of the accident
- Bad dreams about the accident
- Anxiety attacks because of reminders of the accident
- Feelings of guilt about the crash
To speed up your recovery process remember to eat a balanced diet. Also, get fresh air as well as thirty minutes of exercise each day if possible. You should stay hydrated and it may help to practice a hobby. You could also get some headspace through meditation or prayer depending on your individual beliefs.
Getting Back Behind the Wheel
There comes a point where most people who have an accident have to get back behind the wheel. To avoid unnecessary emotional shock, take each day as it comes. Don’t rush back into driving straight away.
In fact, you could ride share to work or get public transport until you feel comfortable to drive again. If you do decide to jump back on the horse, remember that it’s normal to feel some form of emotional discomfort.
The key to overcoming your fears is to keep lines of communication open and do things at your own pace.
Sarah Barnes is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and above all, a digital nomad with a passion for all things travel, food, and health. She’s traveled to more than 50 countries and has worked with a variety of holistic nutritionists and health coaches along her way. She’s currently creating her own platform to help people manage their gastrointestinal problems through healthy yet yummy food.