Mental Health Issues Victims Face After A Car Accident

Mental Health Car Accident

Often, a motorist injured in a major car collision will be preoccupied with physical and financial recovery. Grappling with medical bills as well as car towing and repair costs, a car crash survivor faces an additional burden that carries long-term effects: one that causes psychological damages. 

How To Better Handle Post-Car Crash Problems

A serious mental health issue shouldn’t be swept under the rug. Don’t tackle the difficulties on your own. Seeing a mental health professional doesn’t reflect weakness. 

Since you can no longer perform things that can make you happy, such as dancing, playing sports, gardening, among other things, you may feel useless and helplessly trapped in a situation of doom. Additionally, you may be worried about the medical bills and repair costs, including the projected loss of job, income, and your mental health treatment.   

If you’re suffering from any of these, consider seeking the services of an attorney. A motorist can ask for additional damages, including mental health issues incurred by a motorist after a car collision, says one Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer.

Mental Health Issues Caused By A Car Accident

Mental health issues often accompany auto collision victims in varying degrees. Upon impact, it’s normal for a driver or passenger to experience emotional distress. In some cases, other patients recover in a week or so. Some will have lingering mental health issues that can affect the quality of life and the relationships.

Here are a few ways in which a violent car accident may affect one’s mental health.          

Emotional Distress 

Whether it’s a major or minor collision, expect to feel your adrenaline skyrocket immediately following an impact. As a result, you’ll experience sweating, rapid breathing, a jittery feeling, and you may breathe faster than usual. The adrenaline rush will also make you feel less sensitive to pain and reduces your ability to keep calm.    

In some individuals, a feeling of distress may disappear in a few hours. Some, however, will experience it for longer–from a few days to a few weeks. A person who’s involved in a car crash may experience the following: 

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fearfulness
  • Feeling mortified
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • Incessant crying
  • Sleeplessness
  • Loss of motivation and appetite
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Fear of riding a vehicle or being on the road

Sometimes, the severity of physical damages will influence the accompanying emotional or psychological symptoms as well as a person’s coping abilities. Some can be manageable that a victim can still function on a daily basis. In severe cases, it can be debilitating to the point that a sufferer will have difficulties getting to school, work, and meeting other obligations.    

If the mental health issue persists, it can damage a person’s way of life, putting a huge dent on relationships, productivity, self-worth, and overall well-being.    


Car crash survivors can suffer from anxiety for weeks or months following the accident. The levels of anxiety can range from mild, moderate, to severe. Without proper management or treatment from a mental health professional, anxiety can negatively impact a sufferer’s quality of life.   

Additionally, an individual may experience the following symptoms related to anxiety: 

  • Extreme fear or phobia
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Recurring headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle spasms or tension
  • Dizziness  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  

While known more famously as the most common mental health issue affecting war veterans, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may develop in any traumatic incident, including a violent car accident. The Americal Psychological Association (APA) has even stated that incidents of motor vehicle collisions are the major cause of PTSD among the non-military populace.  

This mental health condition doesn’t typically appear immediately following a crash. PTSD shares a few symptoms with Acute Stress Disorder, hence it’s best to consult with a specialist for proper diagnosis, management, and treatment.   

Some of the common signs of PTSD are: 

  • Withdrawal from social events and human contact
  • Avoidance of persons, places, and activities that reminds the victim of the collision  
  • Paranoia 
  • Nightmares 
  • Insomnia
  • Challenges in establishing connections with others
  • Inability to enjoy any type of activity

Left untreated, these symptoms can result in more serious signs of mental health issues, including: 

  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Depression 
  • Anger management difficulties

Major Depressive Disorder 

This mental health condition is also quite common to the general populace, and car wreck survivors can develop it as well. In car accident victims, depression is often linked to the severity of the physical damages and the resulting disability incurred by the motorist.   

Watch out for these signs that may indicate a person has depression. Having a few of these signs warrant an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist as soon as possible. 

  • Lack of motivation
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of enjoyment in activities that used to bring joy
  • Dramatic weight loss or weight gain
  • Recurring thoughts of self-harm
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Loss of concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme mood swings

Bottom Line

A car crash can cause serious problems that linger long after the physical effects of the crash have been resolved. Mental health issues can be one of these long-term effects. In issues where the trauma has caused serious psychological damages, always see a mental health specialist. 

When seeking adequate compensation for these long-term damages to your health and income opportunities, discover how legal counsel can help you.


Daniela M