The Psychological Toll Of Surviving A Deadly Car Crash

In the aftermath of a major accident, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the immediate reality; from realizing that your car is totaled to feeling relieved that although you or your loved ones have been injured, no one lost their lives. However, other major issues can creep up on you much later, such as juggling different financial burdens, dealing with the car insurance reps, handling the legalities if the issue is taken to court, finalizing the police report, and so on. One thing that is easy to undermine is the immense psychological and emotional toll of surviving a deadly car accident. Studies have shown that it can lead to PTSD and heightened anxiety for many people which, in turn, can seriously affect their quality of life. If you or a loved one have recently survived a terrible car crash, be sure to read on for more information regarding different psychological symptoms and what you can do about them.

Initial Shock or Anger

Right after an accident, you might be in a state of complete and utter shock or even total denial that it even happened. Or, you could be blinded by anger or any other overwhelming emotion. However, these feelings will probably be overshadowed by all the practical concerns you will be undertaking, only to resurface much later, exacting a deep emotional toll.

Night Terrors

Maybe your nights are wracked with fraught nightmares that you can’t remember when you wake up with a start. Or perhaps you feel fine one second, but then you suddenly break out into a cold sweat, shaking, unable to concentrate. These reactions are fairly expected after you have survived a major accident. Just because you managed to make it out alive doesn’t necessarily mean that you have emerged unscarred. In fact, the psychological trauma might take a very long time to subside, and according to a Maryland-based personal injury lawyer at this website, in most cases, the survivors might incur more medical bills in the form of psychiatry, therapy sessions, and psychiatric drugs. What you might be experiencing is a form of extreme anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

If you find yourself reliving certain aspects of the car crash, even while awake, then you are most likely suffering from PTSD. In that case, it can take a lot of hard work and professional help for you to achieve any kind of equilibrium. Or, perhaps you are feeling a bit on edge, highly irritable, and that your heart is racing all the time. These are all clear signs of anxiety, for which a similar medical plan might be required to treat it.

Depression and Guilt

Perhaps you feel incredibly down for a long stretch of time after the accident. This is to be expected, but it might be especially heightened if a friend or family member was also with you but did not make it. If you had to witness the death of a loved one, that is a heavy emotional burden that is tremendously difficult to overcome. Typically, you might be experiencing feelings of worthlessness, abandonment, and survivor’s guilt. The psychological toll of such feelings cannot be underestimated, and it is important to acknowledge not just their presence, but also that you might need sustained treatment for a long period to deal with them. In the worst situations, they might lead to suicidal ideations in addition to a host of other problems.


Unknown Recovery Time

Again, you may not be immediately aware of what happened to you or why exactly you are experiencing such strong emotions. However, once you start feeling them, the main barometer to go by is time. If, for example, you do not feel any better as more time passes, or you continue to experience ongoing difficulty with eating and sleeping for long stretches, then it might be prudent to look into getting help. If your feelings begin to impinge on your daily routine, or if you turn to drugs and alcohol to cope, seeking psychological help is an absolute must.


At first, it might be hard to acknowledge that what you are experiencing is normal in the aftermath of a traumatic experience. Your first inclination might be to wonder why you don’t feel more grateful that you survived. However, you must not deny your emotions nor undermine the immense psychological toll of a car accident. The best thing you can do for yourself and loved ones is to acknowledge the issue and seek professional help as soon as you can.

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