When you’re involved in a crash, the ER doctor usually warns you there will be many physical, emotional, and mental effects that could emerge. The body cannot immediately react to every aspect of trauma. It’s hard to process what you recently experienced in a day, a week, or a month. Some effects of the crash appear quickly, including broken bones, abrasions, and neck/back pain. Other effects of a crash surface over time. While you can hire an attorney to deal with the insurance companies and medical creditors who keep calling, you can also seek professional treatment for various ailments, including anxiety. In this post, we explore the fear of driving, a common form of anxiety faced by victims of auto accidents.
The Background on Anxiety
A modern definition of anxiety has multiple dimensions. When you experience the emotion of anxiousness, you have a fear of a situation, a person, or another aspect of the environment. Fear is real or imagined, but the anxiety it causes feels personal. Anxiety can change how you breathe, make it difficult to sleep, cause your heart to race, produce a headache, and cause other physical symptoms. However, anxiety becomes a disorder when a person experiences excessive fear, nervousness, apprehension, and worry. While some anxiety is healthy, ongoing anxiety wears you down and makes it challenging to feel in control of your life. Anxiety can affect social relationships at work and at home. If you experience anxiety when riding in a vehicle or by reliving the crash in your mind, it can affect your daily life.
The Fear of Driving
A common side effect of being injured in a car crash or witnessing an accident is the fear of driving. However, many people experience a fear of driving and they have never been in an accident. According to a recent post from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America by Ken Goodman, there are five top fears associated with driving:
- Past negative experiences.
- Driving out of your comfort zone (i.e. alone or to unfamiliar locations).
- Fear of having anxiety symptoms and feeling trapped.
- Fear of traveling too fast and losing control.
- Fear of fatalities.
There are other fears you may experience related to traveling in a moving vehicle. Be sure to report all mental and emotional effects of the accident to your treating physician. He or she may refer you to professional counseling or a support group.
Taking Control of Your Fears
With all fears, of which some are healthy, you must learn to manage them. If you’re walking in a downtown area and afraid to use the crosswalk without a pedestrian signal because you could get mowed down, you’re being rational. People who jaywalk have an increased risk of getting injured in a pedestrian accident. With anxiety related to riding in a vehicle, you must learn to take control of your fears. For example, if driving at night scares you, you can plan errands for your lunch break. If you must go out at night, ask a friend or a relative to drive you or use a service like Lyft or Uber.
At Freeman & Freeman, we’ve helped many clients to address the lasting effects of accidents by seeking compensation under the law. We understand that, before the accident which wasn’t your fault, you drove your vehicle with a healthy set of fears. Now, in light of this devastating crash, you’re more afraid of driving, but you need your vehicle to get around to doctor appointments and other daily activities. If you would like to have your case reviewed by a personal injury attorney, please recent post