With April now in the rear-view, so too is Stress Awareness Month—an annual occasion every April for the past 22 years. During this period, health care professionals and psychologists around the country team up to educate the public about the physical and mental effects of chronic stress.
And there’s no question that few things can be more stressful than getting into a car accident.
Not only does stress often contribute to an accident in the first place, but recovering physically and mentally from a serious crash in the days, weeks and months following the incident can be extremely difficult.
In fact, according the National Center for PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, which is more commonly diagnosed in soldiers and victims of horrific crimes, can also affect people who have been in a serious auto collision event.
Is what you’re feeling after an accident normal, or a sign of PTSD?
While almost everyone who’s involved in a serious accident often experience feelings of shock, anxiety, a sense of being overwhelmed, and maybe even fear, for some people these emotions don’t dissipate over time and actually get stronger.
When feelings associated with the crash begin affecting your everyday life, this may be a sign of PTSD. Post-traumatic stress can also cause these problems:
- A constant, general feeling of uneasiness
- Anxiety when riding/driving in vehicles
- Urge to avoid talking or thinking about the incident
- Unusual or excessive irritability or anger
- Nightmares or difficulty sleeping
- Ongoing, uncontrollable flashbacks of the crash
Overcoming Post-Accident Stress
If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of PTSD after being in a serious accident, it is important to take the right steps toward recovery, rather than ignore it and hope it just goes away—because it won’t.
First off, you’ll want to educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of PTSD. Once you know about what causes chronic stress, you should then seek out a professional mental health expert who can help guide you in figuring out coping mechanisms and recommend therapies that may help you deal with the condition.
During this process, you need to make sure you are talking about the accident. Reach out to family members, friends, coworkers, or even a support group if you have to in order to share your feelings and experiences with others. Human connections are an integral part of the recovery process for PTSD.
Lastly, you should also talk with a car accident lawyer. In most states, victims of car accidents can receive compensation for psychological injury, as well as physical. For compassionate, knowledgeable legal counsel on your rights, contact Colorado car accident attorney R. Mack Babcock today for a no-cost consultation.