According to a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study, 39.2% of those involved in a motor vehicle accident go on to develop post traumatic stress disorder. The American Psychological Association also found that car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD among the general (non-military) population. Furthermore, there’s a surprisingly low correlation between the seriousness of an accident and the onset of PTSD. Effective coping strategies are critical to living with PTSD.
Even in cases where no one has been injured, PTSD is certainly possible. It all depends on how the person perceives and responds to an accident. People who had a fleeting feeling that their life was in danger were more likely to develop PTSD. This can often lead to avoidance, and the newfound belief that driving is dangerous. Just the thought of being around other vehicles is viewed as a risk.
You can identify PTSD when you discover these strong avoidance behaviors. Changes in your emotional reaction and intrusive memories areothers. But even if you notice these signs in yourself and in others, what’s next? Here are five tips for dealing with PTSD after an accident:
Therapy is one of the most common treatments for PTSD. Therapy teaches you how to deal with your trauma, improve your self-esteem, and chip away at your symptoms. There are many possible techniques used to address PTSD. For example, with cognitive processing therapy, you’ll discuss your accident and how it has affected your life. Your therapist will work with you to help you realize what areas of your accident were out of control and helps you to relinquish any blame or fault you might be carrying. You’ll also learn breathing techniques and coping mechanisms that will help you on a daily basis.
Speak to a Lawyer
It can be difficult for you to feel as though you can move on with your life if you feel like you’ve been mistreated or didn’t get the reparations you deserve. For example, you might find yourself overwhelmed with medical bills or struggling to afford therapy. According to the Barnes Firm, a team of truck accident lawyers in Oakland, getting legal advice can help you put your personal circumstances into better perspective and aid you financially and emotionally in your efforts to move on with your life. If money is only compounding the negative feelings you associate with your accident, always reach out to an attorney who can help you determine whether you can receive additional compensation.
Exercise – One of the Most Effective Coping Strategies for PTSD
Exercise is a great, natural way to boost the feel-good neurotransmitters in your body and give you a sense of purpose. When you’re done exercising, chances are you feel as though you’ve accomplished something, and this can offer the positive stimulation you need. Low to moderate exercise can relieve anxiety and boost your mood. You can also combine it with outdoor immersion, like going for a walk in the park. Getting yourself out in nature is also a healthy way to start feeling better about yourself.
Even if you don’t have PTSD, or you haven’t discovered any symptoms just, yet, exercise can you help you in numerous facets of your life by boosting your overall cardiovascular health, improving your mobility, and allowing you to maintain a healthy weight. If you were injured in your accident, always talk to your doctor about the type of exercises you can do safely.
Practice Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is the practice of utilizing safe driving practices to defend yourself against potential collisions. Taking a defensive driving course allows us to stay safer on the road, better recognize hazardous situations, and respond quicker. And this doesn’t just involve understanding potential accidents because of other drivers—it also helps you assess the road and determine whether conditions and how to drive when those conditions aren’t favorable. In some cases, you may even be able to lower your insurance by taking a defensive driving course. But more importantly, it can boost your confidence on the road.
There are countless studies that illustrate the benefits of meditation for many mental health issues, including post traumatic stress disorder. It’s one of the most effective coping strategies with PTSD. While there are several types of meditation, transcendental meditation may be particularly useful in addressing post-accident PTSD. This type of meditation involves chanting and focusing on mantras to achieve inner peace, and research found that participants who engaged in this type of meditation were able to curb PTSD symptoms in 3.5 months. They also reported improvements in their symptoms of depression.