We will discuss car accidents and anxiety. One of the overlooked consequences of experiencing car accidents is the development of anxiety disorders. According to statistics in the United States, in 2009 an estimated 10.8 million motorists suffered accidents while on the road. This means one person in the United States is injured every 10 seconds due to a motor vehicle collision. Among these survivors, some of them may eventually develop psychiatric conditions such as anxiety disorders.
Why anxiety and other emotional disorders are often overlooked?
Being a person responsible (or a victim) of a car wreck is an immensely stressful experience, and what’s worse, involved persons often don’t seek or are unable to get help. Persons on the wheel of the involved vehicle are often in shock, in excitement and find it difficult to remain calm. The numerous paperwork and reports needed in the aftermath of a vehicle collision often makes it difficult for the involved persons to discuss their emotions, which heightens risk of developing psychiatric problems. Some psychiatric problems seen among car accident survivors include anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
Here are important things you should know about vehicular accidents and anxiety problems:
- In the movies, car accidents survivors often remained coherent and unemotional – this is not always the case in real life. The upheaval of emotions during car collisions is always immense but often underestimated.
- Only few studies explored the association between car accidents and anxiety disorders. In a research study from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, researchers estimated that persons involved in car accidents face less than 14% risk of having psychiatric issues in the future; 5.7% risk of having anxiety disorder, 6.6% risk of phobias (often to driving), less than 6% risk of having depression and 13.1% risk of having post-traumatic stress disorder.
- In another study featured in BMJ, one-fifth of the respondents suffered from mood disorders as well as horrific memories of the accident. At least one-tenth of the respondents also reported phobias in travelling and driving.
- In the BMJ study, respondents with previous psychological and social issues before the vehicle accident are at more risk.
- The type of vehicle involved in the accident (car, motorcycle, etc.), gravity of the injuries sustained in the car accident, or being a driver or the passenger may not be predictive for anxiety disorders.
- In a more recent study, it is found that the most prevalent psychiatric problem among car accident survivors is moderate-to-severe anxiety (55% prevalence), especially among females.
- In some cases, psychiatric and emotional disorders like anxiety become evident months after the vehicular accident.
- Fortunately, majority persons with psychiatric disorders due to vehicle accidents report improvements within 3 to 12 months.
What to learn from these studies
Anxiety disorders have many different causes. However, history of involvement in a vehicle collision is often not taken into consideration during assessments of psychiatric issues like anxiety disorders.
Perhaps, the best piece of information we should know about car accidents and anxiety disorders is to determine early symptoms. Some of the early symptoms of ongoing anxiety problem include feeling faint, wobbliness in legs, and feeling dizzy or light-headed, feeling hot, and sweating but not due to external heat sources. Vehicle accident related anxiety tend to elicit symptoms such as being unable to relax, being scared and fear of the worst happening , having difficulty breathing and being terrified, nervousness and a fear of dying. Furthermore, being in a vehicular accident does not always mean you will have psychiatric issues soon so there’s no need to worry.
If you especially feel anxious when driving or riding a vehicle, or chose to avoid cars altogether, 2 to 12 months after the incident can mean that you have a trauma from the accident and you need help. This applies even if the vehicular accident you were involved is relatively minor. Lastly, the best advice for motorists to avoid anxiety issues and car accidents altogether is to drive safely and be alert while on the road.
Know more about informative insights about anxiety, only here at NATURAL ANXIETY REMEDIES CENTER.