After a car accident happens, we ask those involved “are you OK?” We ask this question to determine if anyone is physically hurt. But it’s important that we also ask about victims’ mental health in the days that follow. A car accident is a traumatic event that can trigger emotional upheaval. One potential outcome is depression. In our post today, we’ll discuss why someone might feel depressed following an accident, what signs to watch for, and steps you should take to get help.
Feelings of Depression Following a Crash
After a collision, those involved may feel a range of strong emotions. At times, these emotions may feel conflicting, confusing, or overwhelming.
- Sadness. An accident victim may be facing a serious injury that requires a change in lifestyle. Perhaps you’re no longer able to engage in activities and hobbies you once enjoyed.
- Stress. A collision often has financial consequences. In addition, the accident may temporarily take over a person’s life including medical appointments and looking to replace a vehicle.
- Anxiety. You may feel anxious about driving again – or even being in a car. You may find certain situations triggering. (Make sure to read our blog post about anxiety following a car crash for more on this topic.)
- Anger. You may harbor a great deal of anger towards the driver who caused the accident. It may feel extremely unfair that due to no fault of your own, you’re now injured and facing financial hardship.
- Guilt. If you caused the accident, you could feel an enormous amount of guilt, especially if victims were hurt or killed. If you were a victim, you might also feel guilt. You might wonder “what if” you hadn’t left the house that day or taken a different route to work.
These emotions are understandable and normal. However, if they feel intense or prevent you from going about your daily life, it may be time to reach out for help.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression can impact your physical well-being as much as your mental well-being. Following a car accident, or any traumatic event, watch for the following signs and symptoms:
- Low mood
- Sleep disturbances, either insomnia or excessive sleepiness
- Feeling fatigued/constantly tired
- Irritability or restlessness
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and social situations
- Loss of interest in activities
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Changes in appetite
- Thoughts of death or dying
In the next section, we’ll share some options you have for treatment. However, if you are reading this and having thoughts of suicide, please call the 24/7 suicide hotline at 988 right now. Help is available.
Treatment Options for Depression
We encourage you to reach out to a doctor if you are concerned that you may be depressed.
There are a range of treatment options available. You may find a combination of treatments works best for you.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This talk therapy method will help you process the event with the goal of lessening your emotional intensity over time.
- Antidepressants. There are prescriptions available to help you manage your depression. These may be prescribed for a period of time, to help take the edge off. In many cases, they may be most effective when combined with other treatment methods, such as CBT.
- Exercise. Engage in any movement that sounds appealing to you and that you are capable of doing. For instance, this could include going for a walk, rowing, lifting weights, or yoga.
- Engaging in activities that bring calm. This could look very different from person to person. Ideas could involve spending time outdoors, extra cuddles with a pet, reading, taking a bath, having friends over, or playing video games.
Can Depression Be Included on an Injury Claim?
Yes. There are some situations when you could include your depression on a car accident claim. However, there are some steps you should take to increase the likelihood of receiving compensation.
- Seek a doctor. It’s important to get a doctor’s care – not just for your recovery, but also for your claim. Medical records and treatment are key evidence.
- Follow through on appointments. If you fail to show up for follow up care, the insurance company could argue that you aren’t as harmed by the accident as you claim.
- Involve an injury attorney. An attorney will understand how to present your case to the insurance company. Plus, they can manage the claim taking a key stressor off your back so you can focus on your recovery and well-being.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free
It’s free to speak with a car accident lawyer from our team. We’d like to hear what happened to see if we can help. There’s no charge for an initial consultation and we only charge a fee if we’re able to win you a settlement.
Please contact us today for help.