Mental Check After an Accident
It’s safe to say that most people will be involved in an automobile accident at some point in their life. According to the National Center for Statistics & Analysis, there are 3.5 million people injured in a car accident every single year in the United States *Back pain* alone, and almost 42,000 of those people die as a result.
So, anyone who gets into an automobile accident and walks away without a scratch should consider themselves very lucky. Heck, even if you do have a scratch, you’re lucky if that’s the only consequence.
Luckily a lot of accidents aren’t fatal, but what most people don’t think about are the mental effects that often cause more harm than the physical, and can also take much longer to recover from. Even the most minor incident has the ability to cause long term anxiety, fears, and phobias about driving.
It was once assumed that people who have more severe physical injuries from car accidents are more likely to have psychological issues as well. Only recently have people been accepting that it’s not the facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your own emotional experience of the event.
A doctor can usually diagnose how long it will take to recover from physical injuries but the problem with psychological damage is there is no way to tell how long it will last. In typical cases it takes about three months to a year to get over the emotional stress of an accident.
But all too often, victims are stuck with persistent issues and anxiety disorders which don’t develop until after the accident, sometimes even after the physical injuries have healed. And surprisingly, most people who get persistent anxiety weren’t drivers, but passengers in the accident.
Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of an extraordinarily stressful event that shatters your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable. It’s usually life threatening, but any situation that makes you feel overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t cause physical harm.
Some may argue that physiological consequences aren’t that serious, but anyone arguing that has clearly not experienced it firsthand. Emotional harm from an accident can range from shock, denial, guilt, anxiety, social withdrawal and mood swings to insomnia, fatigue, headache and muscle pain, confusion and flashbacks.