Post-Traumatic Stress Following a Car Accident: How to Cope

Updated on April 22, 2020

Your life changed forever on impact. It’s an experience you can’t undo—as much as you probably wish you could—that has both physical and mental repercussions. It could take months, or even years of physical therapy to undo the effects of an accident, even a minor one.

You might blame the other driver, yourself, or both parties. You might find that you can’t seem to get into the car, drive the stretch of road where the accident happened, or get on the Interstate. You may also be having nightmares related to the incident. If this sounds true to your experience, you could be experiencing PTSD from your car accident. You might feel overwhelmed, but you’re not alone. There are healthy ways of coping with the after-effects of your accident. Here are a few things that will help you take your life back.

Teach your brain.

According to Psychology Today, going through a traumatic experience can cause disturbances in threat perception, threat sensitivity, self-image, and emotional functioning. All of these perceptions are firing in your brain. If something traumatic, like a car accident, is changing the way your brain usually reacts and sees things, you may need help to teach it to reimagine these tendencies. The feeling and behavioral changes you’re experiencing are completely valid, but if they’re influencing your ability to live life to the fullest, you may want to consider seeing a therapist.

One in four adults have received help, and 80 percent found it effective. You will most likely get something from seeing a therapist. Statistics are on your side. Finding the right fit when it comes to therapists is very important in your journey. Therapy Group of DC is an expert group that will help you find the right person to talk to in a safe space. They use data-driven science to help you recover and be the best version of yourself. Even after you’re feeling better, this therapy group is a resource for you if you ever need to touch base again. They have your back 100 percent even after your regular visits become less frequent. You’ll be in more than capable hands with the Therapy Group of DC.

Take the proper steps.

The aftermath of a car accident can feel like a whirlwind. The whole experience can set your life off-kilter, even if there are no immediately clear effects of the accident. That being said, there are clear steps to take after a car accident that may help you in the future. For example, even if you’re not sure whether you’ve sustained an injury, it’s important to see a doctor soon after the accident. Not all injuries, like PTSD, are apparent from the get-go. Medical records could be very important down the line if you feel you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. This might seem like driving 101, but make sure you call the police to report the accident. You may need the police report as evidence. While still at the crash site, take pictures of your car and the other car, and write down observations. Make sure you get the other car’s license plate number. It’s best to record the incident as quickly as possible so that the details aren’t fuzzy down the road. Continue recording how you feel physically and mentally for a few weeks. If you’re losing money due to medical expenses, time off of work, or property damage consider hiring a lawyer to help you get the money back that you deserve. Financial compensation will take some of the stress out of the situation, and may ultimately help you cope easier.

PTSD from a car crash is nothing to be ashamed about. Your trauma is very real. Although it can be difficult, give yourself leniency and patience. The road to recovery isn’t a straight line, so set yourself up to cope as best as possible with therapy and make sure that you’re getting the money you deserve.

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