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How To Deal With Psychological Trauma After An Accident

How To Deal With Psychological Trauma After An Accident (PDF)


The psychological injuries related to a car accident can linger for days, months, or even years. This is particularly true when these injuries are not diagnosed and treated early on.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, people in a car accident are at a much higher risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. There’s no doubt that emotional trauma of this size is distressing for both the driver and passengers, not to mention even bystanders.

Here are some helpful resources about mental and emotional trauma following a car accident. We hope they’re helpful.

Post-Accident Mental Trauma Symptoms

When a car accident occurs, emotional trauma is common.

The most common symptoms of post-accident mental injuries include:

  • Shock and disbelief
  • Guilt, even if someone else caused the crash
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Fear about driving or riding in a car
  • Nervousness or anxiety


PTSD is a mental condition that can affect both your physical behavior and mood. It can be short-term, lasting a few months. PTSD can also be a long-term and chronic mental health condition that lasts for years to decades.

The most common signs of PTSD are:

  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Extreme anxiety about driving or riding in a car (or refusing to)
  • Insomnia, nightmares, or other sleep issues
  • Drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Excessive worrying
  • Intrusive thoughts about the accident
  • Irritability or fits of anger
  • Changes in eating or weight

Known as “complex trauma,” physical pain or disability can increase your chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Traumatic brain injuries in particular can increase levels of long-term emotional trauma.

Emotional Trauma Treatment

Symptoms of mild or brief emotional trauma can usually be treated by increasing your focus on basic needs, namely getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and staying physically active. These may not be enough, so it might be time to get professional help.

Options for Possibles Treatment

Coping after a car accident is different for everyone, and what works for one person may not work for another. The Mayo Clinic suggests a psychotherapy approach for adults and children who fear future confrontation with their attackers as an effective method for coping.

  • Cognitive Therapy – Talking to a therapist can help reduce negative beliefs or thought patterns.
  • Exposure Therapy – A common form of exposure therapy to help with psychological distress is called imaginal exposure. Imaginal exposure involves imagining the event, situation, or object that’s causing you to experience distress.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – Imagine going through the motions of experiencing an unpleasant memory without actually re-living it. That’s what Memory Medic does.
  • Antidepressants or Anti-Anxiety Medication – A doctor may prescribe mood-enhancing medicine in addition to therapy for people with severe PTSD symptoms.

What You Can Claim For Emotional Trauma

Your car accident could have caused serious and lasting injuries: both physical and emotional. We know that you deserve help with your medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. We’ll work to get the compensation you deserve so you’re back on track sooner rather than later.

The state of Georgia grants people who have been victims of negligent injury several categories of compensation, including economic damages and punitive damages when the person was extremely negligent.

Examples of how you can show emotional damage include:

  • Statement from your psychiatrist
  • Test Results Diagnostic
  • Prescriptions
  • Testimonials from leading authorities

When assessing damages for an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, it’s important to take emotions into account.

women crying in the side of the bed

Don’t hesitate to – get help from an ATL INJ attorney!

We’re Personal Injury attorneys and we want to work with you to recover the maximum compensation for your emotional and physical injuries.

We provide peace of mind, knowing that your injury claim is in the right hands. All we need is your medical records and police reports. We’ll take care of the rest so that you can focus on your physical and emotional well-being.

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