It’s normal to feel upset after a car accident. Give yourself time to process what happened, and talk about the accident with a friend, family member, clergy member or therapist. Try to get back to your normal routines – including driving. If the emotional fallout from the accident continues to affect your daily life, consider getting professional counseling.
Car accidents affect everyone differently. Some people are able to “brush it off,” while for others it’s not so easy. It’s important to stay in touch with your own feelings, take care of yourself, and recognize the warning signs that you may need extra help.
What can I do to help myself get over the accident emotionally?
Most car accident victims focus first on their physical injuries, and you may be surprised or embarrassed to be struggling with emotions too. A severe, life-changing injury can take a serious emotional toll, and when someone else died in the accident, you may feel trauma because of survivor’s guilt or the feeling that you narrowly escaped death. But even a relatively minor accident can be traumatic, especially if you have experienced other traumas in the past. Some of the ways you can help yourself include:
- Getting back to “normal life.” This includes going back to work as soon as you can and resuming hobbies and your social life.
- Talking to people who you can trust to be supportive. Discussing the accident and your feelings gets them out in the open and may help you feel better.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you are exercising and eating properly. Try to get an adequate amount of sleep. Don’t “self-medicate” with alcohol and drugs.
- Make time for yourself. While it’s important to get back to your routines, be sure to give yourself some “down time” for hobbies or other relaxing activities.
- Start driving again. Take it slowly at first, and sign up for a defensive driving course if you are having trouble feeling confident.
What if I just can’t seem to pull myself together?
Some accident victims just can’t seem to get over the accident. This is normal too, especially if your accident was serious. The following signs indicate that the accident may be causing mental health issues that are hard to overcome on your own:
- Your mental distress is keeping you from doing normal activities
- Your work performance is suffering
- You are having nightmares, flashbacks or severe anxiety
- You feel hopeless, depressed, or have lost interest in things you used to enjoy
- Your friends or family are worried about you
- You are worried about your own ability to cope
If this sounds like you, you may benefit from meeting with a licensed psychologist, a social worker or other mental health professional. Over time, a professional can help you find peace about the accident and overcome the trauma that is making it hard for you to fully enjoy life.
Can I get help paying for mental health treatment?
Often, yes. If the accident was not your fault, you can recover money from the other driver (or their insurance company) to pay for your injuries. However, when it comes to mental health treatment, there is a catch: you can only recover money for your emotional injuries if you also had a physical injury. So, if you had whiplash and developed PTSD, your mental health treatment would be covered. If you only suffered PTSD, it may not.
This is why it is so important to see a doctor right away after any car accident. A doctor can diagnose you and get you started on treatment for your physical injuries. This can shorten your recovery time, helping with your mental recovery as well. And by getting your physical injuries diagnosed, you make it possible to recover the cost of any psychological treatment you need.
Car accident attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia can refer you to doctors and help you get the full amount of insurance money you deserve. Your lawyer takes the stress off you, helping you recover both physically and emotionally.
Talk with an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer – It’s Free
We have some of the most experienced car accident lawyers in Atlanta, and we won’t ask you to pay us anything unless we win money for you. We’ll give you a FREE consultation to explain how we can help. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.