A road accident can have life-altering consequences for a person. The violence of the accident, the injury, the shock and the near-death experience will scar the person’s psyche. Everyone who has been in a traffic accident experiences some degree of trauma. It is only natural.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the focus is on the treatment of injuries sustained. But once the person is discharged from the hospital and the initial shock and disbelief subside, the impact of the accident on his/her emotional health becomes apparent.
If left unattended, psychological trauma can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder that can severely affect a person’s quality of life. Sometimes, the symptoms don’t show up immediately afterwards. It could be months before PTSD sets in. However, once it does, the accident survivor must take steps to deal with it in a healthy way.
How would you know you are experiencing PTSD?
Even if your injuries have healed and technically, your life has resumed normalcy, you will notice that not everything is the same as before. You might be experiencing –
- Insomnia or restless sleep
- Anger or mood swings
- Indolence and losing the will to do anything
- Dwelling on the accident
- Irrational fear
- Eating disorders
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty in forming new memories
- Reduced attention span
- Rapid weight gain or weight loss
- Slowing down of cognitive abilities
- Wanting to withdraw from people around you
PTSD can even induce physical symptoms such as-
- Severe headache
- Back pain
- Digestive issues
- Body ache
- Pain in the muscles
PTSD can even drive people towards substance abuse in a bid to keep the symptoms in check. That is why, if you have been in an accident or you know someone who has, it is important to keep an eye out for these signs because alcoholism or drug addiction can ruin lives. Don’t brush the symptoms off as a natural consequence of an accident that will subside on their own. A person with PTSD needs compassion and help.
How to overcome PTSD
If you are experiencing the signs of PTSD, the first step in the path to recovery is to accept that you have PTSD. If you continue to be aloof, withdrawn, and in denial, then your condition will worsen with time.
Surround yourself with family and friends
PTSD can trigger depression, loneliness and the feeling that you are worthless and unwanted. That is why you need people to uplift your morale. Make sure you have optimistic people around you who are patient and encouraging.
Right off the bat, you don’t have to open up to them. However, simply knowing that you have a support system in the form of a loving circle of friends and family helps.
Even though, you may feel irritable or want to lash out, understand that they have your best interest at heart. An effective trick that helps control sudden temper outburst is silently counting backwards from 10. Anger subsides by the time you reach 1.
When you feel you are up to it, start talking to them. Sharing your worst fears, anxiety and the distress caused by stubborn flashbacks of the accident can take the burden off your shoulders to quite an extent.
Besides, when people you love and respect tell you that you matter, it can be very affirming at a time when you are feeling really low.
Fresh air helps
Many people aren’t aware of the magical benefits of a walk in the fresh morning air. Go out, either alone or accompanied (even if you are temporarily confined to a wheelchair) and breathe in the clean air. If possible take a stroll in a public park, it will immediately cheer you up.
On that note, we will also stress the importance of exercising. You need exercise not only to regain the full range of motion of your injured body part, but it can also bolster your mood.
Working out increases the secretion of endorphins and oxytocin– the happiness hormones. Your blood circulation increases, which gives you the feeling of being healthy.
But, don’t overexert yourself, as that will do more harm than good. Talk to your physiotherapist about the kind of exercises that you need and the duration of each session.
Take your medicines regularly
People with PTSD are sometimes reluctant to continue with their treatment. If you can recognise this trait in yourself, then don’t give in. Not taking your medication will exacerbate the existing problems. With the threat of rising pain and the onset of infections, you might be tempted to use drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.
Instead, follow through with the course of medication prescribed. Do not miss a single appointment with your doctor and therapist.
Most importantly, do not self diagnose. Unsupervised medication can have terrible consequences on your health. And don’t forget, some medicines can also induce addiction. So if you feel unwell or any new symptoms have cropped up, make an appointment with your doctor right away.
Return to your daily activities
As soon as you are physically better, resume the duties, tasks and responsibilities of your earlier life. You may be feeling a sense of malaise and despondency, but the quicker you return to your old life, the more effectively you ward off long-term PTSD. Once you pick up where you left off, it instils a sense of normalcy. You will keep your mind occupied without any scope of ruminating about the accident and what happened after that.
If your injuries have healed sufficiently, you should go back to your workplace. Alternatively, you could also look for freelancing opportunities. If you think, office work would be too stressful, you can volunteer at a social welfare organization. Doing good will make you feel good about yourself and improve your self-confidence.
Focus on your hobby
It’s time to indulge in yourself. Do something you have always loved doing. It could be anything- gardening, playing a musical instrument, woodworking or reading. It takes your mind off stress and anxiety and triggers the production of feel-good hormones.
If none of the other strategies worked, you will need professional help. Do not shy away from therapy because of the stigma attached to it.
Therapy for PTSD aims to-
- Teach you how to deal with the fallout of the traumatic accident
- Ease the symptoms
- Restore your faith in yourself
PTSD therapy is based on Cognitive Behavioural. The goal is to help the individual break away from the new disruptive pattern of thinking and acting that resulted from the trauma.
Some commonly deployed modes of PTSD therapy are-
- Cognitive processing therapy
- Prolonged exposure therapy
- Stress inoculation training
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
These forms of therapy rely on interaction, thought processing, drawing, journaling, breathing techniques to help a person get better.
You might also be prescribed medication for-
If you are undergoing therapy and taking medication, you have to be careful while driving because these medicines can make you drowsy and slow down your reaction time. Drivers on medication can cause accidents.
If you have been in a road accident, then you are entitled to compensation not just for your physical injuries but also for your emotional trauma. That is why you need to contact personal injury lawyers because they can give you an estimate of exactly how much you deserve.
At Claim Settlement, our network of lawyers.. we connect you with have over 20 years of experience in handling personal injury and accident cases and have helped clients recover the maximum compensation in claim settlements. Our initial consultation is absolutely free and you don’t pay your lawyer until you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have suffered an injury or been in an accident call us at 1-833-892-5246 for a free consultation or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org