An accident not only has an impact on your physical health, but it can negatively affect your mental health as well. Many people bottle up the psychological trauma that they suffer after an accident, particularly if it was down to someone else.
It is totally understandable – making a physical recovery from injuries can be long and difficult for many people, and combined with the stress and need for often arduous legal processes and discussions with a personal injury lawyer can make them feel like they just need to get on with it. However, it is important not to ignore any emotional symptoms after an accident, and seek treatment when they begin to interfere with your day-to-day life and other aspects of your recovery.
Accident victims often struggle with anxiety and depression.
It is entirely reasonable to experience a whole roller-coaster of emotions after an accident. From relief that you are alive, to shock, fear, worry, disbelief, anger, and confusion, you can expect to feel very emotional for a while. These feelings usually subside after a while or become a lot easier to manage, but sometimes, they don’t.
When these feelings begin to have an impact on your daily life, it is essential to seek help in the way that you would with any physical injury. It may be that you are suffering from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms of this can be apparent almost immediately, in others, it can be weeks or even months after the initial trauma.
Anxiety and depression are common amongst people who have been injured in an accident. Many victims find that their lives are going to look and be very different due to the physical injuries they’ve suffered. They may have more limitations, or may not be able to work or care for their families in the way that they did before or participate in their favorite hobbies or activities. Some, especially if they have suffered a traumatic brain injury, may find their personality changes or that they can’t socialize or spend time with their loved ones in the same way. All of these can take a significant toll on someone’s mental health and put them at a much higher risk of suffering from anxiety and depression.
When should you seek mental health help after an accident?
If you begin to experience any of the following symptoms in the aftermath of an accident, you should talk to a doctor as soon as possible, who will be able to signpost you to the right sort of help as quickly as possible.
- Irritability or excessive anger
- Persistent nightmares, flashbacks, or bad dreams about the accident
- Inability to focus on tasks
- Increased anxiety or feelings of uneasiness
- Difficulty in sleeping or eating
- Relying on drugs or alcohol to get you through the day
- Thoughts of self-harm or ending your life
It’s important to recognize that psychological stress can also affect your physical recovery after an accident, making it even more important to seek treatment.