Anxiety after Car Accident – How to Cope

Do you feel anxious about getting behind the wheel of your car or experience fear of driving on a highway? Do you get paralyzing thoughts of being at fault for a traffic crash that may cause loss of life or injury to other drivers and pedestrians? You’re not alone. Many people have reported instances of vehophobia. This article analyses vehophobia caused by traffic accidents and how you can address it.

Accident-caused vehophobia

On a sunny Saturday morning, Mark had stopped at a stop sign. Despite his busy schedule, he had promised his six-year-old son that he would never miss his soccer games. His son sat comfortably in the backseat with a soccer ball in his bag.

Suddenly, a deafening crash happened, and the car violently jolted forward into the middle of the road. Mark lost consciousness. He woke up a few hours later in a hospital bed and was worried about his son’s whereabouts. The doctors assured him that the son had survived the crash and was recovering steadily. Mark was relieved. He recovered quickly from his physical injuries and resumed his official duties within a few weeks.

Several months after the car crash, Mark started having recurring nightmares of the day of the accident. In some of his dreams, he would stop at the same stop sign just before an accident. The intensity of these nightmares plagued him for months, disrupting his sleep cycles and giving him sleepless nights. Mark resorted to sleeping pills and started avoiding his car. He would walk or take the metro to get around in the city.

Like many drivers who have survived vehicle accidents, Mark was later diagnosed as suffering from vehophobia, a psychological condition.

What’s vehophobia?

Vehophobia is a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that affects people who experience extreme trauma of almost dying or severe injury of a loved one in a traffic accident. People afflicted with the condition often carry the fear that they might get involved in another traffic accident even when they have been driving safely for decades. The mere thought of driving a vehicle makes them experience bouts of extreme and sometimes paralyzing fear or anxiety. Most people battling vehophobia tend to refrain from driving.

How do traffic accidents affect the mind?

A recent study published by Coffey and Becky suggested that people who experience severe vehicle accidents are at a higher risk of subsequent psychological issues. In about 23% to 30% of traffic accident victims, the symptoms of PTSD appear within 30 days after the accident.

Beyond the anxiety of driving a vehicle, people affected by traffic accidents may also experience severe pain and other forms of comorbidity. Another study also revealed that 53% of people battling PTSD, for example, experience concurrent mood swings accompanied by significant depressive episodes.

If not addressed appropriately, these ailments may cause further self-medication with alcohol or drugs, which can eventually spiral into alcoholism and substance abuse. With time, these tendencies will affect one’s lifestyle, social relationships, and even career.

In Coffey and Becky’s study, men were five times more likely to get involved in substance abuse following an accident compared to the general population. On the other hand, women were 1.4 times more likely to resort to alcoholism and substance abuse. It’s important to mention that the psychological problems associated with traffic accidents are subtle and sometimes unpredictable. Something that seems minor could have a lasting impact on the survivor’s life after a devastating traffic accident.

Is vehophobia curable?

To recover from psychological trauma and regain lost confidence, victims of traffic accidents may need treatment for the specific psychological problems, which may remain unnoticed until after the crash has occurred. It can take a long time for the symptoms of vehophobia or other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to be diagnosed. That means it might be too late for the victim of a traffic accident to file a compensation claim.

For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced vehicle accident lawyer before you get in touch with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. Even if you did not suffer severe injuries, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel. Some injuries might take a few days, weeks, or even months to be properly diagnosed. Having a good auto accident lawyer on your side is a good thing.

Contact a reliable Nova Scotia auto accident lawyer

Are you experiencing post-traumatic effects such as vehophobia after a traffic accident? If so, contact an experienced car accident lawyers at Wagners Law Firm to discuss your legal options. Treatment for your physical injuries and mental health can be time-consuming and very expensive. We firmly believe that you shouldn’t be paying for someone else’s mistake. Our accident lawyers will help you seek justice and the amount of compensation you deserve.

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