Post-traumatic stress disorder is common after a major auto accident.

How Getting Injured Can Affect Your Mental Health

Automobile accidents are traumatic events that may cause serious physical injuries. But people injured in such an accident often also experience psychological trauma that can take weeks or months to overcome and that may even result in permanent disability.

According to Richard Mayou, professor of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, although most of those involved in an auto accident recover within three to twelve months, some have persistent problems.


Medical shock is one common response to the sudden trauma of a motor vehicle accident. Those affected seem shaken and confused about their surroundings. If spoken to, they may struggle to respond or may seem preoccupied when they do converse. After initial symptoms subside, a person suffering from shock may become numb or distant when asked about the accident or may try to avoid the topic altogether. This disconnection is one way of coping with the trauma. It is also an indication that the person may need medical attention.


If you have been involved in a collision, you may experience anxiety. This is common. But if you’re unable to sleep, relax, or return to work because of it, you may have an anxiety disorder that can impair your work and relationships. Some accident victims experience acute anxiety or phobias every time they get into an automobile, making driving and traveling extremely difficult.


Many people suffer from depression after a car accident. Like anxiety, depression can be the result of financial stress, fear, lingering feelings of sadness, or inability to resume normal activities. If you believe you are suffering from depression because of an auto accident, both a physical and psychological evaluation may be in order. Although there is no definitive test for depression, and it can be difficult to measure, it is important that you communicate the level of depression you are experiencing as clearly as possible.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

One of the most common mental conditions that develop after an automobile accident is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although PTSD is sometimes mistaken for anxiety or depression, it is typically manifested in one or more of the following ways:

  • You continue to relive the accident and cannot stop thinking about it.
  • You avoid any reminder of the accident.
  • You suffer from symptoms like sweating, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath.
  • You experience persistent sadness or have recurring negative thoughts.

PTSD is treatable. If you are suffering from the condition, you can learn to manage it and return to your normal daily routine.

Emotional Distress

Possible symptoms of emotional distress include anguish, mood swings, bouts of anger, feelings of humiliation, problems sleeping (including nightmares), loss of appetite, and loss of interest in routine activities.

These symptoms can disrupt your life and make it hard to return to work or school, or even to get out of bed in the morning. Some people become apprehensive about riding in a car for fear of being injured in another accident.

If you or a loved one has suffered psychological injuries caused by a car accident in Colorado,  contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.

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