Accidents are sadly a part of everyday life, but some are more extreme than others. If someone witnesses something and experiences strong emotions at that moment, the memories will become implanted deeply into their subconscious mind. Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can include a feeling of general unease, flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia. People may also try and avoid situations similar to those of the accident, such as driving a car if the original event was a vehicle crash.
Some emotional symptoms will pass quite quickly, but those springing from PTSD can be longer-lasting. We will now take a look at how to deal with these issues.
Don’t Think You are Unusual, and Talk About It
One survey found that one in ten people experience PTSD after a car accident. In answer to the question of who suffers from PTSD, the Institute For Mental Health says 7.7 million Americans over the age of 18 have it. It could arise after a vehicle accident, such as a car, motorbike, truck, plane, or boat. Witnessing an animal attack or physical assault can also trigger it.
It is quite normal to need some time alone to mentally process the accident, but don’t bottle up your emotions. Talk to those who will listen, be they family, friends, or colleagues. If someone else witnessed the event, it can be really healing to talk to them. The shared experience assists a joint healing journey.
Take Regular Exercise
Don’t just sit at home. Keep your body active by taking regular walks, going to the gym, or doing other healthy activities.
Research has discovered that there is power in practicing mindfulness meditation whilst at the gym. People focus on their bodies during the process: how the muscles and limbs feel, how hot they are feeling etc. By refocusing one’s attention on the body, it can help people detach their thoughts from the accident, and aid healing.
Seek Medical Help
This is not a sign of weakness. The doctor can refer a person further if they think it is needed. This could be for counseling or psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also help PTSD sufferers. It can help them train their minds to think and therefore react differently.
PTSD support groups can also help. Talking to others who have the same struggles helps people understand themselves and not feel alone.
PTSD can have extra power over people if they already have psychological issues, or if they had experienced a similar accident before. When such things compound themselves, professional help may be the best way forward.
In some cases, doctors may prescribe tranquilizers to calm a person or antidepressants where depression has been triggered by the experience. This is a far healthier choice than relying on alcohol or drugs to dull the emotional pain.
Once the above aspects have been considered, a person must seek to maintain a normal life. If they experienced a car accident, they should not avoid driving their own. It’s wise to not make any major life decisions or take on extra responsibility whilst feeling emotionally vulnerable.
Whilst the accident was a disturbing experience, there is always hope for returning to a happy and healthy life.