After an accident, it is normal to focus on any physical injuries that may have occurred. These range from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions that require surgery and extended hospital stays. One aspect of post-accident injury that is often overlooked is that of the emotional impact it can have on those who have been involved. Most people either do not recognize that they have suffered emotional trauma or try to conceal the symptoms, thinking they are not serious enough to warrant professional help. This is a major mistake. Just like an untreated physical trauma and emotional one may also get worse if ignored.
Injuries you cannot see
When faced with a sudden unexpected event like an accident, the body releases a hormone called adrenaline which causes the body to speed up its physical and emotional reactions. This can help reduce the extent of the injuries suffered. The hormone wears off over time and when this happens, it is natural to feel weak, exhausted and even anxious or depressed. This is normal because the metabolism is coming down after an adrenaline “high.” The system normally regains its pre-accident equilibrium in a short time. If the symptoms do not fade away after a few days, then it is possible that you may be suffering from emotional trauma caused by the accident. This is a situation that should not be ignored. Professional medical support can help to get you back to normal so that you are able to go ahead with your life without the baggage of these emotional issues holding you back.
Symptoms of Emotional Trauma
Recognizing the symptoms of emotional injury can be difficult as they could be normal initial reactions that become serious only if they do not fade away with time. For example, immediately after the accident, you may relive the experience over and over, often in slow motion where the seriousness of the incident is highlighted. This is normal but if it continues unabated for more than a few days, treatment is required. Similarly, you may talk obsessively about the accident or have nightmares about it or even avoid driving situations or locations that remind you of the accident. If these and other behavioral changes do not disappear, you should contact a doctor specializing in emotional trauma for treatment. In general, the most common post-accident emotional issues are:
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Dealing with Emotional Trauma
The biggest mistake most people make is to bottle up their emotions after an accident. It is important to talk to others as this is a way of relieving the stress. Family and friends are the first and best option because they know you well and will be able to spot any changes in you that you may not be able to see. Once you are aware of the fact that you have suffered emotional injury, the next step is to contact a specialist in this field of medicine so that treatment can begin. It is important to remember that there is no need to hide emotional injuries. It is the same in many ways as a physical one and with the right treatment, just as curable.