mental health impacts of car accidents

In the US every year, it is estimated that 40,000 people lose their lives in car accidents and that thousands more suffer from injuries as a result of these collisions.

There is something of an over-emphasis on the physical ramifications of car accidents, such as broken bones and cuts, while being little in relation to how being in a car crash can impact negatively on your mental health and wellbeing.

This post will highlight some of the most common impacts on mental health following a car crash and will provide advice on how to manage them.


Also known as post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD is not something that only survivors of wars suffer from. In fact, studies have found that nearly 40% of those who have been through a car accident develop PTSD. This can manifest as anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and even sleep disorders.

PTSD relating to a car crash can cause vehophobia, which is also known as a fear of driving. This is not ideal if you have a car and need to get around town. To help manage PTSD and the anxiety that accompanies it, it is best to seek therapy and potentially join a support group for survivors of car crashes in your local area online. This will give you the space to talk through your feelings and will help to lessen the physical symptoms too.


Sometimes, being in a car crash can cause you to begin to suffer from anxiety attacks. This is completely normal following a traumatic event. However, if these last longer than a few weeks post-crash, it is important to seek help, especially if they are impacting your everyday life. This can look like you feeling short of breath, collapsing, feeling nervous, and on ‘high alert,’ which will lead to fatigue and exhaustion.

To manage anxiety after such an event, it may be worth seeking therapy from a counselor who specializes in survivors of road traffic accidents. Much like coping with PTSD, it can be beneficial to seek support from a local group too. If the anxiety is preventing you from sleeping, you may want to visit your doctor to have medications prescribed, such as antidepressants, which can also lower anxiety levels and help you feel more in control.


The odds of developing depression jump drastically if you have been in a car accident, especially if you feel responsible, or if another person in the accident sustained more serious injuries than you, or even died.

Depression can look like issues eating, sleeping, having a persistent low mood, feeling numb, and in severe cases, feeling suicidal. Much like anxiety, antidepressant medication can help to reduce these symptoms and can stabilize your mood.

You will also likely benefit from seeking support from a trained therapist or counselor, who will be able to help you explore these feelings in a judgment-free environment. Responsive depression such as this also benefits from healthy eating, exercise, and setting out a daily schedule to help you manage daily tasks and stay in control.

Similar Posts