Feeling Blue after a Car Accident Injury? It May Be Post Accident Depression!
When you think about injuries caused by a motor vehicle accident, what usually springs to mind is whiplash, broken bones, head injury or even death, but no one thinks about depression. But, in fact, this can be one of the longest lasting impacts after an accident – even a relatively minor one.
In a study featured in the American Journal of Psychiatry, one-third of car accident victims will have “psychiatric outcomes” as a result of the trauma including clinical depression.
How to Recognize Signs of Post Accident Depression
One of the most alarming facts about depression is how difficult it can be to recognize especially in survivors of accidents that may not consider their accident “traumatic.” After an accident, you are likely more on alert for symptoms of physical pains and impairments that resulted from the event, but may not recognize warning signs for depression that can be as devastating as physical outcomes.
Here are 10 symptoms you may be depressed:
(1) Recurring headaches from mild to sever
(2) Anxiety about driving or riding in a car or life in general
(3) Lack of interest in friends, family or activities you once enjoyed
(4) Ongoing fatigue or excessive tiredness
(5) Feeling guilty
(6) Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worthlessness
(7) Difficult sleeping
(8) Lack of appetite, weight loss or gain
(9) Difficulty with making decisions
(10) Difficulty concentrating or focusing
How Depression Impacts Your Life
Untreated depression can have devastating effects on your life. It can increase the chances you’ll become addicted to drugs, alcohol or other risky behaviors. It can take a toll on your relationships with friends, family and co-workers and even make it more difficult to heal from the physical injuries caused by your accidents.
Depression can crop up immediately after an accident or may not kick in for weeks or months after the event. Because of this lag time, it can be difficult to realize the cause and effect relationship between the accident and your depression. Depression is not something most people can kick on their own – it requires medical attention, treatment and may need pharmaceutical intervention. Left untreated, depression can tear apart your life in ways that can be worse than the physical injuries you suffered.
What to Do If You Think You’re Suffering Post-Accident Depression
There are a number of psychiatric outcomes that can result from an accident including post-traumatic stress disorder similar to that found in veterans who’ve served in combat. Any signs of depression or other mental illness following an accident should be treated seriously. There’s no shame in what’s happened and treatment is the only way to alleviate this terrible impact of your car accident.