If you’ve recently been injured in an accident, you may be experiencing many different feelings: shock, disbelief, anger, anxiety, fear, and guilt. These feelings may hit you all at once right after the accident, or they may gradually arise in the following days or weeks.
What you are experiencing is trauma, and it is perfectly normal. Most accident victims experience trauma on some level, especially if injuries are involved. Usually, trauma goes away with time, and life goes back to normal. However, if the trauma remains or worsens after a long time has passed, it can become a serious, life-affecting issue.
When Trauma Becomes PTSD
Normal trauma is temporary and, like most physical wounds, heals with time. Post-traumatic stress, on the other hand, can change the way you act and think in the long term and get in the way of everyday life. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after an accident, you may have post-traumatic stress:
- Persistent anxiety
- Fear of driving or riding in vehicles
- Resistance against medical treatment
- Irritability and mood changes
- Nightmares or insomnia
- A feeling of disconnection from the world around you
- Constant, uncontrollable “replays” of the accident inside your head
Taking Steps to Recover
There are active measures you can take to facilitate your recovery from accident trauma:
1. Talk about your experience. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. Instead, tell a friend, family member, or counselor about the accident and what you’re going through. It may sound like a cliché, but talking really does help.
2. Keep yourself active. Don’t do anything that might exacerbate your injuries. That said, talk to a physician to establish your limits and do what you can to stay active and healthy.
3. Follow up with your doctor. Your health matters first and foremost, so be proactive and vigilant. In the weeks and months following your accident, check with your doctor often to monitor your recovery. If you’re struggling with symptoms of post-traumatic stress, your doctor can refer you to a mental health specialist or therapist.
4. Try to get back to a routine. Accidents are often disruptive, making victims feel like they have lost control of their lives. It is an important part of the healing process to regain a sense of control and normalcy. The best of way of going about this is to reestablish a routine and stick to it.
5. Make stress reduction a priority. While some stress is normal, too much stress will only hinder your recovery. Relieve stress in the moment by practicing mindful breathing and engaging in sensory input that calms you down. Other effective stress reduction methods include meditation, taking time to relax, and getting plenty of rest.
As an accident victim, you should be able to focus 100% on your recovery, from your physical injuries as well as your mental trauma. However, you need compensation for your damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.), which means you must file an injury claim. In your current state, you may not be prepared to take on the legal challenges that come with a claim.
Fortunately, the top injury attorneys at Law Brothers can handle every aspect of your claim for you, so you can focus on your well-being. We will file the paperwork, get you coverage for your medical expenses, get your vehicle repaired or replaced, and more—and at no upfront cost to you. To speak to an attorney now, call (310) 550-8888 for a FREE consultation.