If you get into a car accident, it can be a physically, mentally and emotionally difficult experience. In addition to physical injuries, you may also struggle with posttraumatic stress disorder.
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after you experience a traumatic event, like a car accident, and it affects approximately 3.5% of adults in the U.S. on an annual basis, states the American Psychiatric Association. Although the symptoms of PTSD may take some time to go away, there are steps you can take to protect your mental health at this time.
Take care of your physical health
Taking care of yourself physically can positively impact your mental health. Participate in physical activities and exercise that will not impact any accident injuries. Talk to your doctor about how much exercise you can do safely.
Talk to someone
Talk through the events surrounding the accident and your feelings with someone you trust. A close friend, family member or counselor can become a source of support as you work on recovering from the accident.
Get back to your routines
The thought of going back to work, school or your normal daily activities may be overwhelming. Try to back to your routines gradually, even if the process is slightly uncomfortable at the beginning.
It can take time to recover from the effects of a car accident. Do not try to push yourself too quickly and talk to your doctor if the symptoms of PTSD intensify or do not improve over time.