When Will I Stop Feeling Paranoid & Upset After My Car Accident?
It’s normal to feel some difficult emotions or even paranoia after a car crash, even for a month or more afterwards. After a car accident, you may be in shock. When that fades, you can feel any number of different emotions – all of which are totally normal.
In most car accidents, the traumatic event happens suddenly so you may feel you were unprepared for it or powerless to stop it. Eventually, once the car is repaired, insurance companies are dealt with, and physical injuries heal, these feelings and reactions will fade. Here’s what to expect…
Emotions To Expect After A Crash:
- Shock, denial, disbelief: People usually experience being in shock. Shock can feel different for everyone, but common symptoms include feeling numb, being in emotional distress, continuing to feel afraid even though the event is over, or having unpredictable mood swings.
- Anger, irritability, agitation: After an accident, the driver can feel angry at the driver of the other car, whether they were at fault or not. Many passengers can also feel angry at both the drivers involved in the accident.
- Guilt, shame, self-blame: It is common for drivers beat themselves up over the accident, especially if they think it was avoidable.
- Anxiety, worry, fear: Anxiety is a natural reaction to a stressful situation. Some people experience no symptoms of anxiety at all after a crash and most people who do experience anxiety will recover in time.
Self-help Strategies for Getting Back on the Road:
- Take care of yourself by eating a balanced diet, exercise often, and get plenty of sleep and rest.
- Talk about your experience with your family, friends, qualified counselors, or other advisers.
- If other family members were involved in the crash as well, talk about the crash as a family and let them know that it is helpful to share their thoughts and feelings.
- Start back on the road with short, easy drives.
- Consider taking a defensive driving course. This can sharpen your skills and is a controlled way to help ease any anxiety that may come with being behind the wheel. Plus, these courses are a great way to help you better analyze dangerous situations on the road.
- Drive in the daylight hours and avoid night driving.
- Give yourself time and be patient.
- For extremely traumatic accidents, you may need to seek professional counseling or therapy for paranoia or anxiety.