Over a million people die in road accidents every year. And around 37,000 of these fatal crashes happen in the United States. Also, 2.35 million people end up with non-fatal injuries, costing the country around $230.6 billion each year.
Nearly anyone who has been in an accident will have experienced shock, anger, worry, fear or even guilt. For some people, these feelings may be so overwhelming that they affect the quality of life. Emotional trauma can be just as disabling as a physical injury.
Thus, it is always important to asses one’s mental and emotional damage after an accident.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that affects people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event, including a serious car accident. This mental health condition affects approximately 7% to 8% of the US population, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
People with PTSD have intense and distressing thoughts or feelings that do not go away or, in fact, even becomes stronger after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the accident through nightmares or flashbacks, and these can get in the way of their everyday lives.
Here are some expert pieces of advice on how to deal and cope with these feelings after an accident.
Learn about PTSD
Not everyone who goes through a stressful event will be diagnosed with PTSD. However, everyone must familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of this disorder. This is to recognize these in themselves or in others who were in an accident.
Aside from constantly reliving the trauma, here are some other common indicators of PTSD:
- Avoiding reminders of the accident. These may include avoiding associations with certain people, places, activities and situations that bring on disturbing memories.
- Hyperarousal and reactive symptoms in everyday situations that may be unrelated to the accident. For instance, being easily startled, being exceptionally irritable or having problems with sleep.
Talk to Someone
Instead of letting PTSD go untreated, it is important to seek medical attention. Many people who opt to suffer silently will only experience increased levels of mental anguish and distress. Talk to friends, family, a personal injury attorney, or a counselor in Everett, Washington or in any other parts of the country.
There are many opportunities for healing nowadays that can actively transform a victim’s relationship to the trauma.
Learn to Manage Anxiety
People with PTSD struggle with intense symptoms of anxiety. This heightened anxiety often leads people to rely on unhealthy coping methods such as through drug or alcohol use. There are a number of healthy techniques, however, that people with PTSD can try whenever they find themselves becoming anxious:
- Using relaxation exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation, is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Deep and mindful breathing may sound silly, but many people do not breathe properly. A study from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that crappy posture or slumping causes short and shallow breaths. These, in turn, increases stress and anxiety. To effectively cope with anxiety, people with PTSD should practice mindful breathing.
PTSD can completely destabilize a person’s life. Often times, however, many people do not understand the severity of these trauma disorders. Learning the symptoms and the different ways to cope with this mental condition can help victims wade through life and the different traumatic triggers more easily.