Car accidents are prevalent. Millions of traffic accidents occur in the United States each year, and over half resulting in severe injury. Often, the initial concern following collisions is whether there are physical injuries sustained by the parties involved.
Broken bones, brain injuries, concussions, back injuries, and internal bleeding are easily among the most common car accident injuries. However, most people overlook the uneasiness, anxiety, irritability, and avoidance one feels after suffering an accident. These feelings describe post-traumatic stress. Did you know that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress?
These feelings of stress don’t just fade away. They even grow stronger over time, disrupting your everyday living. The memory of the accident often resurfaces. It worsens if you already went through trauma or have underlying anxiety before the accident. Good thing there are paths to help one deal with post-traumatic stress.
1. Talk your feelings out
Dealing with post-traumatic stress demands ample social support. It’s crucial to have friends, family, and loved ones nearby so you may express yourself when you’re ready. Inform them of your feelings. It may sound scary but go through the accident details with them. Tell them how you feel and your worries before, during, and after the accident.
If you have trouble expressing yourself verbally, then journaling might help. Some people attest that journaling helped them manage post-traumatic stress better. Write down your frustrations, anger, anxieties, and concerns. Journaling about the accident can help you slow down, ponder, and reflect on your feelings.
2. Go out with friends, family, or loved ones
Following an accident, an individual may find it difficult to interact, resulting in isolation or avoidance. Still, it’s best to surround yourself with friends, family, or loved ones. Allow these people to accompany you to places, even if you’re not used to it before the accident. Know that you need more support now than usual. Appreciate invitations. Go out, watch games, or take a stroll in the park with them.
Be careful not to overdo it, though. If you ever feel overwhelmed, find a safe place to calm your nerves, such as a comfort room or an open space. Look for places you can seek refuge in times of sudden anxiety attacks or sense a flashback coming.
3. Create or get back to the daily routine
Post-traumatic stress causes a person to have an interrupted day. After the accident, you’ll find it challenging to carry out routines, such as taking the same route to work. These difficulties, however, are all part of the healing process. Overcome these difficulties and try to get back to your usual daily activities.
Routines help you stay in the present. It provides you with something to look forward to throughout the day, preventing flashbacks. It keeps you engaged, preventing your brain from taking breaks, leading to recalling the traumatic accident. Try to carry on small routines such as going to the same breakfast place every day or following the same morning ritual.
4. Increase self-care
When under stress, it’s easier to neglect your basic needs such as food and sleep. It’s all too easy to fall into unhealthy habits such as overreliance on fast food. However, refuse to be taken over by stress and engage in a healthy lifestyle.
Take better care of yourself. Avoid caffeine to get a better night’s rest. Eat more vegetables to improve your diet. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Also, exercise regularly to strengthen your body and train your mind.
5. Seek professional help
Despite best efforts, dealing with post-traumatic stress following a car accident can be challenging. At this point, you will need professional help from a mental health provider. Mental health professionals help you better process the accident and overcome the stress it caused. They will help you work through your feelings and, if needed, provide you with medications.
These professionals will help you get back on your feet, move forward, and even regain your driving ability.
The risk of post-traumatic stress following a car accident is as real as the risk of bodily injuries. Hence, it is critical to understand how to deal with it. Such an injury does not heal by itself but instead worsens if ignored. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, loved ones, and health professionals. At times, a car accident attorney would also be helpful to secure the compensation you deserve for suffering post-traumatic stress.