Even though you may not think much about it, you have some risk of suffering a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident every time you get into your car, truck or SUV. Indeed, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, nearly 4.5 million Americans sustain traffic-related injuries every single year.
You can expect a catastrophic injury to be physically painful. What you may not realize, however, is that accident-associated injuries also can take an extremely negative toll on your mental health.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Even minor car accidents are often stressful and traumatic. If you have nightmares, flashbacks and increased anxiety after a crash, you may have PTSD. This is especially true if your symptoms persist for months or longer after the accident.
Receiving treatment for and recovering from a life-altering injury can trigger depression. If you are doing any of the following after sustaining an injury in a car accident, you may need professional help:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, anxious or empty
- Being ambivalent or uninterested in activities you usually enjoy
- Having difficulty making decisions, completing everyday tasks or doing your job
- Not eating or eating too much
- Experiencing changes in your sleep patterns
It is usually perfectly normal to be anxious about your prognosis, medical procedures or physical rehabilitation. Nevertheless, if your anxiety is crippling, you may not be coping with it well. Moreover, if your anxiety causes you to delay treatment, you may need medication, therapy or other coping mechanisms.
Ultimately, even though your physical health is likely to be your paramount concern, you simply cannot afford to ignore your mental health after a motor vehicle accident.