West Coast Wellness

Anxiety After an Auto Accident

In some situations, individuals may experience significant anxiety after an automobile accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately every 10 seconds someone in the United States is injured in an automobile accident. While many of these accidents do not result in fatal or serious injuries, the trauma associated with the accident can linger long after any physical injuries have healed. For many individuals, being involved in an automobile accident can cause long-term anxiety and phobias about driving or riding in a car.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, there are several factors beyond the seriousness of the automobile accident that can influence whether an individual experiences anxiety after the crash.  If an individual believes their life was in danger, has a history of trauma, has an underlying psychiatric disorder, or is involved in ongoing litigation surrounding the accident, they may be more prone to experience anxiety after an accident.
Anxiety is a mental disorder that is characterized by feelings of worry, anxiousness, or fear that are often strong enough to interfere with an individual’s daily activities. When an individual suffers from an anxiety-related disorder, their fear and worries do not go away and can even worsen over time. If left untreated, car accidents can cause long-term stress which may affect work, relationships and, in some cases, even lead to depression and sleep problems.
After an automobile accident, it is common for individuals to experience heart palpitations, trembling, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, restlessness, difficulty concentrating and irritability. Individuals who experience these symptoms should seek medical attention to deal with the feelings and emotions associated with the accident before they lead to more serious conditions. For instance, even individuals with years of driving experience may develop vehophobia, or a fear of driving after an automobile accident. Many individuals who suffer from this condition choose not to drive altogether because the anxiety and fear associated with driving is too overwhelming.
There are several other types of anxieties that may arise after an individual is involved in an automobile accident. Often, these anxieties can persist for weeks or even months. For some individuals, there may be a fear associated with another accident happening, flashbacks of the accident, feeling nervous or anxious when passing the site of the accident, or seeing similar road conditions associated with the accident. Studies show that individuals may have increases in their levels of stress hormones for months after even minor traumatic events. Therefore, while a certain level of nervousness may be normal shortly after an accident, persistent phobias should be treated before they become debilitating.
The most important factor in recovering from trauma related to an automobile accident is recognizing the problem and seeking help. West Coast Wellness has helped thousands of patients throughout the Southwest Florida area deal with anxiety related to automobile accidents. If you are experiencing anxiety related to an automobile accident, our team of professionals are here to help you regain your health. Call us at (941) 210-3969 to speak with Dr. Barr about what treatment options are available to you.
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