Do Car Accidents Cause Anxiety?
What would life be like without road transportation? The short trip from your house to the grocery store, your workplace, and a friends` open house are an inevitable part of our existence. Despite our dislike for certain aspects of road transportation, such as traffic congestion, long-distance journeys, flat tires, and breakdowns, we still need to move around via road transport. But of course, ugly road travel occurrences can be worse than the everyday happenings. There are occurrences that are beyond the ordinary. Car accidents are one of such. No matter how much we try to wish them away, they still happen sometimes. They are one of the ugliest things that can happen on the road. We can avoid them, however, some are just beyond our control.
Car accidents may not be as simple as some think — they may go beyond the injuries and pains. Car accidents can be more complicated. These accidents scar some people for the rest of their lives. Anxiety is one of the results of car accidents. Can car accident victims avoid anxiety? Maybe not absolutely, however, there are ways to overcome it. So how can one overcome anxiety after a car accident? This article discusses how to overcome anxiety after a car accident, among related matters. Let’s get talking.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a Car Accident
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the anxiety disorders which car accident victims may experience. People who suffer PTSD after a car accident find it difficult to deal with the condition. They suffer trauma, especially because they re-experience the crash psychologically. One of the characteristics of accident-related PTSD is chronic pain. Diagnosing PTSD early is helpful in preventing some other health conditions, including mental health disorder.
3 Risk Factors for Suffering PTSD after a Car Accident
Even though anyone can suffer PTSD after a car accident, some people are more susceptible to the risk than others. Here are some of the risk factors.
Absence of a Support System
When traumatized accident victims don`t have a sound support system of family and friends, they may suffer PTSD because they have to deal with the trauma all by themselves. This is a difficult place to be.
A History of Mental Illness
Car accident victims who have a history of mental illness are more likely to suffer PTSD. Depending on the severeness of the accident, their mental health may be triggered, putting them at risk of PTSD.
Exposure to Trauma
Car accident victims who have lived or worked in environments where they were exposed to trauma have higher tendencies of suffering PTSD after a car accident.
5 Ways to Overcome Anxiety after a Car Accident
Psychotherapy is an effective way of dealing with trauma-related anxiety, and it is particularly applicable in accident-caused trauma. Here are the three most common types of psychotherapy that are used in treating car accident victims.
3 Psychotherapies that Treat Anxiety from Car Accidents
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a talking therapy in which patients are required to practice relaxation through various techniques, challenge their fears, think realistically, among other activities. CBT helps patients to think and act differently over time. Studies reveal that thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and actions are all linked, so negative thoughts can affect patients` psychological and physical body systems. CBT helps patients to break down their challenges into bits, in a bid to solving them.
- Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is used to fight phobias. During ERP therapy sessions, patients are required to do some tasks that are related to the source of their fear. They may have to sit in a car and attempt to drive for a while. That way, they settle into the activities again and overcome any anxiety attached to them.
- Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy
Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy is a behavior and cognitive therapy that treats PTSD, other anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. During PE sessions, patients re-experience the dreaded traumatic events through a kind of revisitation called “imaginal exposure”. This is a step towards challenging the fear and overcoming it.
Also called hypnosis, hypnotherapy engages patients in guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention, enabling them process thoughts and perform specific tasks better. Hypnotherapy is sometimes done alongside psychotherapy. After some sessions, patients get more open to discussions and suggestions on how to overcome vehophobia.
This helps patients the way ERP therapy does. Taking driving lessons afresh would remind you that you have a sense of control and confidence, and clear your doubts and fears. This is applicable to people who had an accident while driving.
There are car accident victims who may not be open to psychological care from others. Such persons should be encouraged to practice self-love until they are willing to receive care from others. With self-love, they can deal with anxiety by spending quality time with loved ones, exercising, and eating healthy diets. To combat anxiety with self-love you need to surround yourself with pleasant and supportive people; you also need to find reasons to be happy yourself. Also, try identifying stressors and avoid them.
Some patients seem to respond to medications faster than other methods of treatment. Even though medications are effective in treating anxiety, they may not be the best method because many of them treat the symptoms, not the problem. Medications are better at managing anxiety, not treating it. Consulting a doctor before taking medications is the appropriate thing to do. Sedatives and beta-blockers are commonly used in managing vehophobia. Sedatives reduce anxiety. They have side effects such as drowsiness and sedative-dependence. Beta-blockers prevent the stimulating effects of adrenaline, hence it prevents high blood pressure, increased heart rate, a pounding sensation in the heart, a shaky body, among others.
10 Car Accident Facts
- About 1.35 million people die annually as a result of auto crashes.
- Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.
- Drunk Driving is the leading cause of car accident, followed by speeding.
- Accidents are the third-biggest killer of men in America. Men are more predisposed to motor vehicle crashes than women, and as a result, die more frequently. This is because men engage in riskier driving practices.
- Chances of having a car accident increase by 400% when you talk on your phone while driving.
- Men are 10 percent less likely to wear their seatbelts than women.
- Wearing a seatbelt reduces your risk of an accident-related death by 50 percent.
- Fatal accidents occur mostly on weekend nights between midnight and 3 am.
- Vehicle drivers are more susceptible to suffer a fatality in a crash than passengers.
- Over 4,000 pedestrians die annually after being struck by vehicles on roads and highways in the United States
Now that you Know…
Getting over the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging. There are no hard and fast rules to the duration and approach — your therapist is in the best position to suggest your best way out. You can help yourself by being open to receiving help and treatment. Ensure that whatever approach you adopt for healing is thorough. In cases of disabilities as a result of the car accident, a therapist may be helpful. Be sure to give yourself enough time to readjust and heal; also, find reasons to be happy, and stop blaming yourself or having regrets about the incident.