Most car accident victims and their families focus on their physical injuries after a car accident. Getting immediate treatment for your physical injuries is critical to your health and could mean the difference between life and death. Severe physical injuries also typically require months of rehabilitation, and some victims never make a full recovery.
Brain injuries and coping with a car accident’s physical and financial aftermath often lead to mental trauma. You might not be able to easily identify the signs and symptoms of mental trauma after a car accident, making it a hidden injury that victims and their medical providers often overlook.
After a car accident, your long-term mental health is as important as recovering from your injuries. Failure to address emotional challenges from your accident and injuries can disrupt your life and your family’s life in various ways. Contact your doctor if you feel anxious or depressed, and share this information with your lawyer. Mental health struggles factor into the amount of compensation you could receive for a car accident claim.
PTSD Is the Most Common Emotional Injury After a Car Accident
People often ignore the psychological aspect of being involved in a severe car accident. If they suffer symptoms such as shock, disorientation, and anxiety, they often associate them with other things, such as work struggles, financial issues, and family problems. However, car accident victims face mental trauma related to the accident and their injuries that requires proper treatment, just like physical injuries.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is among the most common psychological injuries from car accidents. PTSD is often associated with abuse, natural disasters, and military veterans, but research shows that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD, with about 40 percent of motor vehicle accident survivors developing PTSD. This statistic suggests that mental injuries are far more common after a car accident than many believe.
Getting the Treatment You Need for Mental Trauma After a Car Accident
If you or someone you love faces emotional challenges after a car accident, you can claim economical and non-economical aspects of your mental trauma as damages in a lawsuit. However, you must prove your mental injuries, which sometimes pose challenges. You cannot simply claim you are dealing with emotional struggles after a car accident. You must seek treatment with one or more mental health professionals and get your emotional injuries diagnosed and documented.
Your psychologist, psychiatrist, or another mental health professional might recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Exposure therapy
- Cognitive restructuring
- Psychiatric therapy
- Occupational therapy
Your doctor will help you develop the best treatment plan for your situation. The sooner you begin treating your mental trauma, the sooner you can move on with your life.