Psychological Effects of Automobile Accidents
An automobile accident can be a very traumatic experience. It is natural to have concern for the
physical problems that may result, but a person is more than mere flesh and bone. Aristotle has
remarked: “The energy of the mind is the essence of life”.
An often overlooked aspect of motor vehicle injury is the psychological effects that these
accidents can cause. Anxiety and depression are fairly common after traumatic occurrences. In
fact a recent study by Oxford University showed at least one-third of people that had nonfatal
accidents developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety one year
after the incident. Similar to other types of injuries, car accidents can result in depression, sleep
problems, as well as anxiety that could disrupt work and even relationships.
The severity and length of time these conditions may last are difficult to predict, as well as the
impact it can have on daily life. There is the possibility of acute stress disorder (occurring within
four weeks of injury and is a variation of PTSD in which symptoms last from two days to a
month) to PTSD itself (with avoidance, anxiety, and intrusive flashbacks, intense disturbing
thoughts and may be long lasting, well after the traumatic event is over). In regards to motor
vehicle accidents, symptoms of avoidance may show themselves in three main ways: Fear of
driving, driving less, and anxiety as a passenger. There may also be nightmares and decreased
interest in usual activities that manifest in PTSD.
Treatments should be started as soon as possible with the goal of regaining psychological
balance and a return to pre-accident conditions, if possible. This can be done with
psychological therapy as well as medication, if needed.
The psychological effects of motor vehicle injuries are very real, and unfortunately fairly
common. It is important to seek help as soon as you can so proper care can be started. As
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind”.
Clayton Bowman, D.O.
If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.
Chambers Medical Group has car accident medical clinics in the following locations: