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How to Handle PTSD Symptoms After a Car Accident



Most people understand that car accidents are frequently associated with physical injuries, but they’re also associated with less visible forms of damage, such as the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you’re experiencing PTSD symptoms after a car accident, it’s important to be proactive in managing your mental health – and fight to win the compensation you deserve.

Recognizing PTSD

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign of PTSD:

Heightened anxiety and stress

If you feel heightened levels of anxiety and/or stress, it could be an early and mild sign of PTSD. This is especially true if you feel anxiety and stress around cars or roads.

Flashbacks and dreams

People with PTSD often experience flashbacks to the incident, often with such vividness that they seem real. Dreams of the event are also common.

Mood swings

Irritability and mood swings are also hallmark symptoms of PTSD. You may feel like you’re constantly bouncing back and forth between different emotions.

Avoidance and isolation

Some people with PTSD start avoiding things they used to love and isolating themselves. If you don’t like the idea of leaving the house and you feel like you’re pushing people away, it’s a potential sign of PTSD.

Getting Compensation

If you’ve been in a car accident that was a result of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to talk to a car accident lawyer about your legal options.

Together with your lawyer, you may be able to win compensation for any expenses associated with the accident, including not just direct damage done in the incident, but also fees associated with medical bills – and treatment of your PTSD symptoms.

If you’ve developed PTSD as a result of someone else’s negligence or deliberate actions, you deserve to be fairly compensated for the treatment, at the very least.

Managing PTSD After a Car Accident

These are some of the best strategies for managing PTSD after a car accident:

Take things one day at a time

One of the most important strategies you can incorporate is taking things one day at a time. If it feels like your PTSD is going to follow you for eternity, or if you’re not sure how you’re ever going to feel normal and happy again, you’re going to be overwhelmed. It’s much better to focus on getting through each day, at least at the beginning.

Seek professional counseling

Professional counselors have knowledge and resources that can help you.

Regardless of what you’re feeling or what you’re specifically going through, they can help you better understand your condition, identify the root causes of your symptoms, and guide you in trying different management strategies to see what works and what doesn’t. This is also an opportunity to talk about your feelings openly, without fear of judgment.

Join a support group

Support groups are communities of likeminded individuals (often going through the same mental health issues) where you can share your thoughts, get emotional support, and give similar support to others. It’s a slightly less formal setting than what you’ll find in professional counseling, which is valuable to many. It’s also an opportunity to socialize and strike up some new friendships.

Lean on friends and family

Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family for support. If you trust them, tell them what you’re going through. If they’re available, ask them for help with anything you’re struggling with. They’ll likely be more than happy to help you out.

Find healthy distractions

If you’re stuck alone with your thoughts, you’ll naturally be overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to find healthy distractions. Consider taking up a new hobby, burying yourself in a good book, or traveling to new areas; almost anything that takes your mind off the incident and doesn’t actively hurt you is a good thing.

Stay active

Make a concentrated effort to stay active, with plenty of outdoor time and physical activity. Exercise and time in nature are two of the best ways to manage stress and anxiety, and they can help you stay physically healthy at the same time.

Stay social

Similarly, you need to make an effort to stay social, even if your intuitions are telling you to isolate or push people away. Try to talk to someone every day, even if it’s just exchanging a handful of text messages.

Take baby steps

Even our deepest psychological issues can often be overcome through gradual exposure. Consider taking baby steps to make yourself more comfortable with objects or situations that trigger your anxiety.

For example, you can start with standing in the garage next to a car, then move to touch the car, then move to sitting in the car, getting comfortable with each step before you eventually go for a short ride in the car.

Once you’re comfortable with that, you can gradually increase the distance and speeds at which you travel – only when you’re ready to move forward. Your therapist can help coach you through this process appropriately.

PTSD can be devastating and set back your mental health for years – but it’s not a challenge that’s impossible to conquer. While there is no cure for PTSD, there are many viable treatments and management strategies that can help you restore your mental health and return to a normal, happy life.