You may be surprised to learn that depression is quite common after a car accident. The traumatic experience of a car accident can be life-altering and lead to feelings of sadness, loss of interest, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Car accident injuries can also lead to chronic pain and other issues that complicate your physical and mental recovery. Depression can affect your mental health and can also manifest in physical ways, too. Many who struggle with depression after a car accident may not realize they are dealing with a mental health concern. Prompt diagnosis and treatment from your doctor can help address symptoms of depression before it negatively impacts your life further. It is important for car accident victims to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, along with available options for treatment and support.
Symptoms of Depression After a Car Accident
What does it mean to be feeling depressed after a car accident? For some people, the stress and trauma of being involved in a car accident can trigger uncomfortable emotions. However, when your response to the accident starts to impact how you think, feel, and behave, then you may be dealing with a diagnosable condition of depression. Symptoms of depression after an accident can range from mental to physical and negatively impact many aspects of a person’s life. Symptoms of depression after a car accident may vary from person to person. Some common signs and symptoms of depression include feeling sad, unhappy, or worthless. You may lose interest in activities you used to enjoy. Depression can also cause significant changes to your appetite and sleep schedule, leading to insomnia or excessive sleeping. Other symptoms of depression can include irritability, frustration, agitation, or restlessness. Depression may even lead to frequent thoughts of death or dying. If you experience some of these symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, then talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Diagnosing Depression After a Car Accident
Talk to your doctor about how you have been feeling after the car accident. Let your doctor know if there have been any changes in your lifestyle and habits from before and after the car accident. Some symptoms of depression may affect your ability to participate in school, social activities, or complete necessary tasks at work or home. If you suffered a car accident injury during the wreck, then your doctor may want to run additional diagnostic tests and perform a physical exam to track your treatment progress. When you talk about how you have been feeling after the car accident, your doctor will want to look for signs of psychological distress after a car accident. Diagnosing depression after a car accident will typically involve a psychological evaluation to determine the severity of your symptoms and whether you are suffering from depression. Your doctor can help identify the connection between motor vehicle crashes and mental health problems like depression so you can get the treatment you need.
Treatment Options for Depression
There are a wide variety of treatment options for depression depending on your specific symptoms and how your mental and physical health are affected. Medications like antidepressants can help you manage your symptoms of depression and address chemical imbalances in the brain. Even chiropractic care helps with anxiety and depression. Talking with a counselor or therapist can also help you navigate your feelings after a car accident. From individual sessions to group therapy, psychotherapy allows you a chance to talk about your experience and learn how to cope with factors that are contributing to your depression symptoms. Talk therapy can also help you identify symptoms of anxiety after a car accident, which can also occur with symptoms of depression. Therapy can help you better understand your feelings and how to better cope with your daily life. Your doctor or therapist may also recommend alternative therapies for depression alongside current treatments, like meditation or acupuncture. Depression can lead to a lack of interest in exercise and other physical activities. Participating in a yoga class can introduce concepts of mindfulness and mediation while gently moving your body.
Take Control of Your Recovery After a Car Accident
If you were injured in a car accident, you may also experience depression from an injury. Perhaps the recovery and healing process took longer than you expected, or you may not have realized the psychological impact of injuries after a car accident. One way to help overcome depression after a car accident is to take control of your recovery. Here are key steps you can take after a car accident.
Seek Medical Care Immediately
It doesn’t matter if you were in a minor fender-bender or a multi-car collision: you should always get checked out by a medical professional. While you may be tempted to say you feel fine, you should never turn away medical attention at the scene of the accident. Even a mild concussion can be life-threatening when left untreated. If you do notice any pain or other symptoms, then seek medical care immediately and take your potential car accident injuries seriously. Getting treatment from emergency responders or at the emergency room can help address critical injuries or issues and make sure you are stable.
Follow Up with Car Accident Doctor
Continued treatment and care for car accident injuries will need to take place with a trusted car accident doctor. While paramedics and emergency room doctors take care of your immediate needs, you will need to find a doctor for follow-up and treatment. A car accident doctor will know how to address your injuries and provide you with the comprehensive care you need. Car accident doctors also understand the importance of providing you only with the services and treatments you need for your injuries so that insurance will fully cover your care.
Complete All Recommended Treatments
It is important to demonstrate a commitment to your treatment plan after a car accident injury. This not only benefits yourself and your healing process but also shows the insurance companies that you are taking your recovery seriously. Your car accident doctor will provide patients with individualized treatment plans that address each person’s specific injuries and symptoms. Everyone responds differently to an injury and requires personalized treatment, which is why you need a team of car accident doctors who offer a comprehensive and multi-specialty approach.
Gather Appropriate Documentation
Gathering the appropriate documentation will help support any insurance claims or legal help as appropriate. From your first encounter with an emergency responder to follow-up care with your car accident doctor, every bit of information may be used to help support an insurance claim. Collect and save all documentation, including diagnostic reports and results like X-rays or CT scans. The insurance company and potentially your lawyer will want to see specific information if you decide to file a claim or report. Going to a knowledgeable car accident doctor will also benefit you because they will understand the importance of medical documentation for insurance and legal purposes.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Talk to your insurance company about the type of coverage you have and provide them with pertinent information to support your insurance claim. You may also be dealing with the insurance of the other driver, depending on who was at fault for the accident. An insurance agent can offer you guidance and support on how to file an insurance claim and what types of documentation will be needed. You may also wish to seek legal help to support a potential claim or settlement.
Get Necessary Car Repairs
After a car accident, your car may need repairs, or it may be totaled. Your car insurance can provide you with an estimate of what your car is worth so you can determine the best course of action. Getting the necessary repairs for your vehicle will likely be an important factor in you returning to work and your regular routines. The sooner you can get your car to the shop for repairs, the sooner you will be able to get back to your daily life.
Practice Defensive Driving
When you are dealing with depression after a car accident, you may feel reluctant to get back behind the wheel. Take a class in defensive driving to learn more about how you can stay safe on the road and feel better prepared in the future. Feelings of depression can actually impair your driving abilities, so gaining confidence while behind the wheel can help you become a safer driver. Learn more about how to effectively regulate your emotions before you get behind the wheel so that you feel calm and stress-free.
Visit AICA Orthopedics near you to learn more about how car accident doctors can help you after a wreck. Car accident injuries can take a toll on both your physical and mental well-being and our team of doctors are here to help. Schedule an appointment at an AICA Orthopedics location near you and get started on treatment for your car accident injuries. Our multi-specialty team of doctors can provide you with comprehensive and personalized treatment and care so you can fully recover after a car accident.