By Stephen M. Pfeiffer, PhD
Anyone who has ever experienced
knows how all encompassing it can be, including everything from physical wounds to emotional upset and psychological trauma. However, in many cases, the full spectrum of these injuries is rarely recognized – and often, the mental and emotional effects of an accident are considered less important than bodily injuries. The truth is, in order to facilitate true healing after an automobile accident or any other traumatic event, it is critical to take all effects of the incident into account. Victims and caretakers of those involved in automobile accidents should be aware of the many ways in which psychological trauma can manifest itself, and how to get help. In most cases, a qualified psychologist is the best resource for additional treatment options, individual therapy and counseling.
Healing psychological trauma
Psychological trauma is just as real, valid and potentially damaging as physical trauma. Anyone who survives a frightening event may experience psychological trauma; and sometimes, such trauma is evidenced even in the absence of physical injury. As noted in a resource article for
, auto accidents are one of the most prevalent sources of psychological trauma, with over 6 million car accidents and 41,059 traffic fatalities reported as of 2007. When an individual is involved in a car accident, be it a minor fender-bender or a three-car pile-up, there are a number of emotional, physical and cognitive reactions that may arise in the days and weeks following the event. These can range from shock, denial, guilt, anxiety, social withdrawal and mood swings to insomnia, fatigue, headache and muscle pain, confusion and flashbacks – and because everyone will experience a different response to trauma, no two cases will be alike. Some individuals may not find a minor accident traumatic at all, while others will struggle to overcome myriad emotional and cognitive symptoms as a result of the same event. Therefore, it is important for anyone who has been through an accident to create stability and support in order to deal with symptoms as they arise – and to seek professional help if necessary.
Knowing when to take action
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an automobile accident or other traumatic event, keep an eye out for any symptoms that persist for more than several weeks, as well as difficulty accomplishing work or household tasks, avoidance issues or substance abuse. In these cases, it is important to contact a professional psychologist. To learn more about possible treatment or
, contact me, Stephen M. Pfeiffer, at
, or visit my website at