The effects of car crashes vary depending on the severity of the crash and other factors that are present. When you are involved in a car crash, you might suffer from physical injuries, but it is also possible that you will have to deal with emotional impacts of the accident.
It isn’t always possible to be fully prepared to handle these emotional effects. For some individuals, they are overwhelming and difficult to overcome. These impacts can lead to major life changes that make everything harder for you.
Emotional damage often associated with severe injuries
Typically, emotional impacts are going to be worse after victims suffer severe accidents than they would be for minor fender-benders. Even if a person isn’t injured, they might still suffer from mental trauma if someone else was badly injured in the same accident. In some cases, “survivor syndrome” is a possible consequence if another person passed away in the accident. Those who survived might feel guilty about making it through the crash when a friend, relative or even a stranger succumbed to their injuries.
This doesn’t mean that people who are in minor crashes won’t feel any emotions after the accident. When this happens, the person may have some mental challenges due to the crash. However, they are likely able to overcome them fairly quickly.
Acute stress disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder
Acute stress disorder (ASD) isn’t as severe as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it can be a precursor to PTSD. ASD lasts a few days to a month, and then the symptoms start to abate. A person who has PTSD is going to have long-lasting effects that will likely require mental health care to learn coping mechanisms to help them manage the symptoms. People with this condition might not exhibit symptoms right away. Instead, they might come on over time and get worse in the months following the accident.
Similar symptoms for both conditions
While ASD isn’t a life-limiting condition, PTSD is. A person who has PTSD from a car crash might not be able to drive or ride in a car without professional assistance. The symptoms of both conditions mimic each other. There are five distinct categories.
- Arousal symptoms. Irritable behavior, difficulty concentrating, problems falling or staying asleep.
- Negative mood. Inability to be happy or feel love.
- Intrusions. Involuntary memories or dreams about the tragedy.
- Avoidance. A need to stay away from things or people that trigger memories of the accident.
- Dissociative symptoms. Feeling like you are in a daze or as if time isn’t moving normally
Anyone who has these symptoms might need to seek mental health help. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but getting your treatment started quickly can help you to address the problems.