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Understanding the Emotional Impact of a Car Accident

One minute, you’re on the road going about your day. BAM! The next thing you know you’re in an accident. Whether the collision was minor or major, it can have a negative impact on you emotionally. From the fear and anxiety experienced during impact to the confusion and chaos that follows (police, ambulances, insurance claims, recovery, etc.), these overwhelming emotions can stick with you for years to come.

Your car gets repaired or replaced, your physical wounds are treated and begin to heal, but the psychological trauma many encounter after a car accident can take a while to dissipate. Fortunately, there are service providers like doctors, medical experts, and attorneys to help you get through some of the physical, financial, and legal obstacles that arise after a car crash. This not only helps to ease your stress and anxiety but allows you to focus your attention on improving your mental wellbeing.

What Might You Experience?

What are some emotional effects you experience from a car accident? While everyone is different, you might expect to feel the following:

  • Denial or Shocked – After an accident your mind and body could go into shock. You might feel numb, unable to react emotionally, or even in denial that the event took place.
  • Anger or Frustration – Anger and frustration can quickly come about in an accident. You’re upset with the other driver for their actions and the mess it caused.
  • Guilt – On the other end of the spectrum, you might find yourself feeling guilty if you believe you were in the wrong. This is especially true if someone got seriously hurt or died.
  • Anxiety and Fear – Immediately following an accident the events can trigger fear and anxiety. The loud noise and bright lights from emergency vehicles, the sight of the accident, and wondering what happens next can tie your mind up in knots.

What Should You Do?

If you experience emotional overwhelm after an accident, find comfort in knowing it’s normal. The key to preventing long-term emotional effects after a car accident is to identify your emotions and find healthy ways to soothe them. Some solutions might include:

  • Take Deep Breaths – When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with rage, anger, anxiety, or fear, pause right where you are, close your eyes, and take deep breaths in and out.
  • Tackle One Thing at a Time – Trying to resolve all your issues after an accident at once will only cause emotional overload. To keep some mental balance, it is recommended that you tackle one thing at a time. Contact the police, take photos of the scene, collect information from the driver, get medical attention, file a claim, talk to a car accident lawyer, and then dedicate time to healing. Pusch & Nguyen has been my choice for a long time!
  • Find Healthy Outlets – After a traumatic experience, it can take some time to get over. When you find yourself getting overwhelmed or going back to that dark space, it is important to have healthy outlets. This might be talking with a friend or relative, taking a walk outside, reading a good book, getting a massage, or spending time with your children.
  • Know When to Get Help – Sometimes your emotions are too much for you to control on your own. If you start experiencing prolonged periods of sadness, anger, or anxiety, it is highly recommended that you seek help from a mental health professional, mentor, or spiritual advisor. Sometimes, talking to a third party can help you feel better while also giving you the tools you need to overcome your emotions.

Though accidents happen all the time, it’s not something a person grows accustomed to. When you’re involved in an accident, a plethora of emotions from happy to sad can overcome you at once. While time may heal some wounds, others take longer to recover from. Start by knowing what’s going on emotionally, then take healthy steps towards releasing those emotions, if that isn’t effective, seek help from a mental health expert.

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