Recovering from an Automobile Accident: Healing the Emotional Wounds

Reviewed May 4, 2018

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

  • Emotional recovery is a part of healing from an auto accident.
  • Trauma reactions include physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms.

Anyone who has been in an automobile crash knows that it is traumatic. In addition to wreaking havoc on machines and bodies, auto crashes cause psychological wounds.

Psychological hurt needs healing

Psychological trauma is as real as bodily trauma. Emotional wounds must be healed as part of the recovery process.

Psychological trauma can happen after living through an extraordinarily scary event. While traumatic events often involve a threat to life or safety, any situation that results in a person feeling emotionally overwhelmed or devastated can be hurtful—whether there are bodily wounds or not.

Reactions to the event

After a traumatic event such as an auto crash, survivors may have a wide range of responses. You may have all or some of these in the days, weeks or months after the crash.

Emotional

  • Shock, denial, disbelief
  • Anger, irritability, agitation
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Sadness, hopelessness
  • Anxiety, worry, fear
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Emotional numbness, mood swings

Physical

  • Insomnia, nightmares
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Muscle tension, aches, pains
  • Headache, stomach distress
  • Crying spells
  • Hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response

Cognitive

  • Confusion, trouble focusing, forgetfulness
  • Intrusive memories, flashbacks

Everyone reacts differently

Even though these reactions are common, people react to experiences differently. What is painful to one person may not bother another. Allow yourself to have your own reactions, without judgment or guilt.

Recovering from a traumatic event takes time. Everyone heals at his own pace. You may not "get over it" as quickly as you (or others) think you should. The longer you avoid dealing with your reactions, the longer you will be touched by the trauma.

Strategies for healing

  • Take care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough rest.
  • Keep up a daily routine. Keep a balanced schedule between work and home. Stay active and involved.
  • Get support from others. Talk about it with friends, family members, or clergy.

Know when to get help

Get professional help if:

  • Symptoms last for weeks
  • You have trouble functioning at home or work
  • You avoid things that remind you of the crash
  • You use drugs or alcohol to cope
By Karen S. Dickason, L.C.S.W., C.E.A.P.
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition

Summary

  • Emotional recovery is a part of healing from an auto accident.
  • Trauma reactions include physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms.

Anyone who has been in an automobile crash knows that it is traumatic. In addition to wreaking havoc on machines and bodies, auto crashes cause psychological wounds.

Psychological hurt needs healing

Psychological trauma is as real as bodily trauma. Emotional wounds must be healed as part of the recovery process.

Psychological trauma can happen after living through an extraordinarily scary event. While traumatic events often involve a threat to life or safety, any situation that results in a person feeling emotionally overwhelmed or devastated can be hurtful—whether there are bodily wounds or not.

Reactions to the event

After a traumatic event such as an auto crash, survivors may have a wide range of responses. You may have all or some of these in the days, weeks or months after the crash.

Emotional

  • Shock, denial, disbelief
  • Anger, irritability, agitation
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Sadness, hopelessness
  • Anxiety, worry, fear
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Emotional numbness, mood swings

Physical

  • Insomnia, nightmares
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Muscle tension, aches, pains
  • Headache, stomach distress
  • Crying spells
  • Hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response

Cognitive

  • Confusion, trouble focusing, forgetfulness
  • Intrusive memories, flashbacks

Everyone reacts differently

Even though these reactions are common, people react to experiences differently. What is painful to one person may not bother another. Allow yourself to have your own reactions, without judgment or guilt.

Recovering from a traumatic event takes time. Everyone heals at his own pace. You may not "get over it" as quickly as you (or others) think you should. The longer you avoid dealing with your reactions, the longer you will be touched by the trauma.

Strategies for healing

  • Take care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough rest.
  • Keep up a daily routine. Keep a balanced schedule between work and home. Stay active and involved.
  • Get support from others. Talk about it with friends, family members, or clergy.

Know when to get help

Get professional help if:

  • Symptoms last for weeks
  • You have trouble functioning at home or work
  • You avoid things that remind you of the crash
  • You use drugs or alcohol to cope
By Karen S. Dickason, L.C.S.W., C.E.A.P.
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition

Summary

  • Emotional recovery is a part of healing from an auto accident.
  • Trauma reactions include physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms.

Anyone who has been in an automobile crash knows that it is traumatic. In addition to wreaking havoc on machines and bodies, auto crashes cause psychological wounds.

Psychological hurt needs healing

Psychological trauma is as real as bodily trauma. Emotional wounds must be healed as part of the recovery process.

Psychological trauma can happen after living through an extraordinarily scary event. While traumatic events often involve a threat to life or safety, any situation that results in a person feeling emotionally overwhelmed or devastated can be hurtful—whether there are bodily wounds or not.

Reactions to the event

After a traumatic event such as an auto crash, survivors may have a wide range of responses. You may have all or some of these in the days, weeks or months after the crash.

Emotional

  • Shock, denial, disbelief
  • Anger, irritability, agitation
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Sadness, hopelessness
  • Anxiety, worry, fear
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Emotional numbness, mood swings

Physical

  • Insomnia, nightmares
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Muscle tension, aches, pains
  • Headache, stomach distress
  • Crying spells
  • Hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response

Cognitive

  • Confusion, trouble focusing, forgetfulness
  • Intrusive memories, flashbacks

Everyone reacts differently

Even though these reactions are common, people react to experiences differently. What is painful to one person may not bother another. Allow yourself to have your own reactions, without judgment or guilt.

Recovering from a traumatic event takes time. Everyone heals at his own pace. You may not "get over it" as quickly as you (or others) think you should. The longer you avoid dealing with your reactions, the longer you will be touched by the trauma.

Strategies for healing

  • Take care of yourself. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough rest.
  • Keep up a daily routine. Keep a balanced schedule between work and home. Stay active and involved.
  • Get support from others. Talk about it with friends, family members, or clergy.

Know when to get help

Get professional help if:

  • Symptoms last for weeks
  • You have trouble functioning at home or work
  • You avoid things that remind you of the crash
  • You use drugs or alcohol to cope
By Karen S. Dickason, L.C.S.W., C.E.A.P.
Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.