Car accidents happen every day, and you might not realize the toll they can take on the mind and body until it happens to you. Even a minor car accident can negatively impact your mental health and well-being. It is not uncommon for people to experience some level of mental trauma after a car accident. When you pass by a wreck on the side of the road, you may not think about how those drivers may be experiencing anxiety after a car accident. Emotional responses are common, and you may need time to heal mentally as well as physically after a car accident. Visit car accident chiropractors near you to receive treatment and care for injuries along with support for how to mentally recover from a car accident.
How a Car Accident Can Mentally Affect You
Millions of car accidents occur each year in the United States. If you were recently in a car accident, you might be surprised at how a car accident has affected you mentally. Each person may respond differently to a car accident, even if they were in the same car when the wreck occurred. Here are examples of how a car accident may mentally affect you.
Shock is a common response after a car accident. The sudden collision between two vehicles often takes drivers by surprise. You never expect a car accident to happen to you. When it does, you may experience some level of shock. Shock is a normal response after a stressful event like a car accident and can even lead to a physical response. You may notice your palms start to sweat, cold or clammy skin, and rapid breathing. Shock after a car accident can also cause your pulse to quicken and stir up other feelings of distress.
A car accident can cause a lot of stress in your life. In the immediate aftermath, you may feel overwhelmed at what steps to take and rely on support from others. Dealing with insurance companies and getting necessary car repairs can significantly impact your daily routines and ability to get to and from your job or school. Stress can affect you both mentally and physically. You may notice greater tension in your neck and upper back due to the stress from a car accident. When you are stressed, you may also notice other physical responses like fatigue and issues with digestion.
Worry or anxiety after a car accident is a normal experience. You may be worried about your health or the health of others involved in the accident. You may also worry about the financial impact of getting into a car wreck. Worrying about the future can also increase your stress and anxiety levels. When you are overwhelmed from getting into a car wreck, you may not be able to problem-solve as best as you would like. Anxiety can cause your thoughts to spiral into what-ifs and unrealistic scenarios that may exacerbate your mental health after a car accident. If you already deal with anxiety, then a car accident may make your anxiety worse.
Whether or not you were at fault, you may experience some level of guilt after a car accident. A car wreck may be a complete accident, but you still feel guilty that another driver or passenger was injured. A car accident can also cause property damage, and you may feel bad about the other driver needing to get car repairs. Feelings of guilt may plague you if your car sustains less damage than the other driver’s, even if you were not at fault. Even if you were at fault for what happened, it is important to remember that humans make mistakes. Guilt can negatively impact your daily habits and even affect your recovery if you suffered any injuries. If you are struggling with guilt after an accident, talk to your accident doctor or a trusted family member or friend to help make it easier to cope with what happened.
Some people develop fears after getting into a car accident. You may feel uneasy after getting back into a car after being involved in a wreck. The trauma of a car accident may lead to nightmares or trouble sleeping, caused by your mind’s way of processing the experience. It is possible to develop a fear of driving after getting into a serious car wreck. Fear after a car accident can develop into a phobia or anxiety disorder like post-traumatic stress disorder. You may experience flashbacks of the car accident that prevent you from feeling comfortable in a vehicle or driving by where the accident occurred.
Mentally Recovering After a Car Accident
Some feelings after a car accident can keep you from living your normal life. Thankfully, there are ways to mentally recover after a car accident that help reduce symptoms like stress and anxiety. Here are five ways to mentally recover after a car accident.
Talk about your experience
Talking about the car accident will help you organize your thoughts and get your feelings out in the open. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, or counselor about your experience. Tell them about the details of the experience, including what you were thinking and feeling at the time. If a particular memory about the car accident keeps you up at night, then try to describe the memory. This can help you process the car accident and get the thoughts out of your head. Keeping your feelings bottled up inside and not talking about the accident will only make your anxiety and other mental symptoms worse.
Stay active and exercise
Continue enjoying activities and exercises you love, as long as they don’t aggravate any injuries you may have suffered during the car accident. You don’t want to let a stressful experience like a car accident keep you from what makes you happy. If you were injured in a car accident, then talk to your doctor about safe and healthy ways to return to exercise and physical activity after a car accident. Regular exercise and physical activity help boost your mood and improve your overall mental and physical health.
Return to your daily routines
A car accident can throw off your daily routines. You may feel uncomfortable or worried about driving past the site where the accident occurred. If your car is totaled, then you may need to find alternate transportation to and from your job. A car accident injury may prevent you from attending your regular fitness class. All these stressors can impact your daily routines. However, a return to your daily routines will help with the healing process. Talk to a trusted friend or relative if you are scared or uncomfortable with your daily routines. Getting back into a routine will help improve your mood, reduce your fatigue, and help you mentally recover.
Practice defensive driving
Getting back behind the wheel after a car accident can be overwhelming for some people. Whether you feel afraid or anxious about driving again after an accident, learn how to be a defensive driver. Practicing defensive driving doesn’t mean you become a more angry or aggressive driver. In fact, defensive driving is a technique where you drive carefully and learn how to better anticipate potentially dangerous situations. If fear or anxiety after a car accident is keeping you from driving comfortably, then consider a defensive driving course to learn helpful tricks and techniques. Defensive driving helps you learn how to reduce the likelihood of car accidents and reduce dangers on the road.
Follow up with a car accident chiropractor
These are things you didn’t know a chiropractor can help with, probably. Talk to your car accident chiropractor if you are feeling stressed, worried, or anxious after you’ve been in a wreck. Let your primary care doctor or chiropractor know if a car accident has triggered your anxiety or depression. Car accident chiropractors treat all types of car accident injuries and work with you to improve health and well-being, which includes your mental health. Learn how to get over a car accident by talking with your car accident chiropractor about the connection between the mind and body in the healing and recovery process.
Chiropractic and the Mind & Body Connection
There is a strong link between what happens in our mind and how it impacts our bodies and vice versa. Mental and emotional distress like guilt and anxiety can cause physical symptoms after a car accident or other traumatic event. Your emotional health can have a huge impact on your body and how you experience physical pain. Chiropractic takes a holistic approach to treating car accident injuries. Car accident chiropractors will focus on the mind-body connection to help you with the healing and recovery process. Worry, stress, and fear can affect your overall health even if you didn’t suffer a physical injury in the car wreck. You may notice higher blood pressure, chronic pain, or headaches after a car accident. Emotional distress can lead to these types of physical responses in the body. Car accident chiropractors help you mentally recover from a car accident by addressing the root cause of your pain and other symptoms.
Tips for Getting Back on the Road
Even if you walked away from a car accident without any injury, you might feel worried about driving again. Here are three tips for how to get back behind the wheel and face your fears so you feel safe and confident on the road again.
Bring a buddy on your first drive
The first time you get behind the wheel after a car accident, bring along someone you trust. A friend or family member can help talk you through any stressful moments and provide you with emotional support. It can help you feel safer to have someone else in the car with you during your first drive after the accident. You may even want company for your first few outings on the road to help you regain your confidence. Do what is most comfortable to you, and remember that every person’s experience after a car accident is different.
Start with short, quick trips
Ease back into driving like you would if you were an athlete returning to your sport after an injury. Start with a quick, short driving trip less than five minutes long. Perhaps you drive through your neighborhood and then back home. Try driving up to the corner store and back a few times to regain your comfort on familiar roads. If your regular commute to school or work requires you to drive on busier roads, then you may first want to drive the route during off-peak traffic times to help regain your confidence.
Sharpen your driving skills
Remember the basics of being a safe driver: always wear your seat belt, use your signals, and don’t be afraid to use your horn when necessary. Avoid talking on the phone, texting, or eating while you are driving. Don’t drive when you are feeling tired, because fatigue will reduce your reaction time to other drivers or dangers on the road. Defensive driving courses can help you regain your confidence behind the wheel and even help you save on your car insurance after you’ve been in a wreck.
Whether you are a brand-new motorist or an experienced defensive driver, a car accident can happen to anyone. Don’t let an unfortunate event like a car accident keep you from feeling your best self. If you need quality and comprehensive care after a car accident, then visit Pro-Care Medical Center. Our team of car accident chiropractors has the knowledge and experience to support you through your treatment, healing, and recovery. Pro-Care has teams of auto accident chiropractors in Austin, Cedar Park, and San Antonio, so you can get quality treatment and care no matter where you live. Our team of chiropractors supports you from intake through recovery and for a wide range of injuries and health concerns. Learn more about how to mentally recover from a car accident and get the care and treatment you need for any car accident injuries at a Pro-Care Medical Center near you.