BERLIN: After a road accident, physical injuries tend to be immediately clear. The impact on mental health, however, can take weeks or months to manifest itself.
That’s because even if the body emerges from a crash with little or no injuries, the mind can suffer from a profound feeling of a loss of control.
Among the most common responses to the stress of a crash are a feeling of emotional numbness, concentration problems, restlessness and general anxiety, mental health experts say.
If these complaints do not subside after a few days or weeks and restrict your everyday life, you should seek help from a psychotherapist.
Left unchecked, this trauma can develop into a full-blown driving phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. If they are not recognised and treated, the symptoms will also continue to worsen.
If you feel at all shaken up after an accident, listen to your feelings particularly carefully for the next few days and weeks and ask yourself:
1. Are my worries suddenly popping up to such a degree that I have trouble concentrating?
2. Do I constantly feel numbed to the world around me?
3. Am I having nightmares or reliving the accident in my mind over and over again?
4. Am I afraid to get behind the wheel again? Do I feel anxious in cars?
Remember that mental health issues sometimes won’t manifest themselves until many weeks or even months after the accident. PTSD can develop either right after the disturbing event, or it can occur weeks, months or even years later, according to Britain’s National Health Service.
It can sometimes also happen that the treatment of any physical injuries from the accident suppresses the psychological processing of the accident for the time being.
Keyword: Your body might be unscathed after a car crash, but your mind?