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Can a car accident cause mental issues?

Having an automobile accident in New York can mean repairing or replacing your vehicle and even prolonged treatment for physical injuries. However, there is also the potential for the psychological effects of post-traumatic stress disorder as well. 

According to familydoctor.org, there are certain signs to look out for if you feel you may be experiencing mental issues following a car accident. 

What signs can indicate PTSD?

An automobile crash can be a terrifying ordeal that creates a lot of extra work. Between insurance paperwork, dealing with vehicular body damage, maybe buying a new car and tending to bodily injury, it leaves you feeling unsettled for a long time. It might make you reluctant to get behind the wheel again, increase your anxiety or irritability, make it difficult to sleep or even give you nightmares. While these emotions hopefully decrease with every passing day, you might still find yourself replaying the scene over and over and sometimes wishing that you had done things differently. 

It is normal that it may take you time to process the accident. However, for some people a car accident can lead to prolonged mental anguish that does not easily go away. In addition to extreme irritability or anxiety, here are some signs that may indicate post-traumatic stress: 

  • Feelings of detachment with other people 
  • Memories of the accident that won’t go away 
  • Nightmares that persist 
  • Anxiety about the inability to ride in a vehicle or drive 

Any or all of these signs suggest that you could benefit from treatment to help resume living a healthy life. 

What treatments exist for PTSD?

Many different options can ease the pain of PTSD. It is important to stay physically healthy by getting a sufficient amount of sleep, eating healthy foods and engaging in physical activity. Simply talking to your family members or friends might be enough, but if you feel you need more support, seek the help of a professional. Your primary care doctor can not only help with your physical healing, but also give you recommendations for a therapist. If you cannot resume driving due to fear, you may want to explore options like cognitive behavioral therapy or taking a few private driving lessons until you feel comfortable again. 

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