Psychology Chartered

National Road Victim Month 2018

Posted by Chloe Nunan

3rd August 2018

August is National Road Victim month. Here at Psychology Chartered we see a lot of individuals that have been involved in Road Traffic Collisions (RTC’s) and so this is an awareness month we feel very passionate about.  Following a RTC, you are likely to initially focus on the more physical injuries sustained. There is not widespread attention around the RTC victims who are suffering emotionally or mentally due to either the trauma itself or the struggle to face the reality of physical injuries sustained. We understand that these injuries can be just as devastating as the physical ones.

The emotional distress following a RTC can lead victims to experience one or more of a whole list of symptoms which can include: anxiety, mood swings, crying, bouts of anger, sleep disturbances and nightmares, loss of appetite and a loss of interest in usual activities. Symptoms such as these can severely disturb every-day life causing difficulties in various aspects such as getting to work, attending work or activities and sometimes even just getting out of bed. Some are too fearful to even get back into a car, which can cause disruption of appointments and various other commitments. The emotional distress if often short-lived, but in some cases can be more persistent, especially if the victim still has physical reminders of the incident.

Some victims may be diagnosed with mental conditions following a collision, the most common being PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). In addition to this, many with PTSD simultaneously have a high and often intense fear of driving a motor vehicle and/or an anxiety disorder in relation to it.  PTSD of RTC victims can have drastic effects on daily life such as: recurring and intrusive memories of the incident, intense nightmares, depression, flashbacks or blackouts and self-harm.

It is very clear that those who have been involved in an RTC can experience mental stresses such as depression, anxiety, phobias and PTSD. These are essentially invisible and that’s why they can get overlooked although they can be just as debilitating as physical injuries. The trauma from RTC’s can be unexpected and sometimes very debilitating. That being said, there are some things that can be done in order to try and ease some symptoms, these can be as follows:

  • SHARE HOW YOU’RE FEELING- don’t be afraid to open up about how you feel, it is so important to share this with friends, family and especially your doctor if you’re struggling. There are extremely effective treatments available, and one should not shy away due to fear of stigma around these conditions.
  • STAY ENGAGED- try your best to stay engaged in your daily life. Depression and anxiety can take a hold very quickly. However, attempting to stay engaged and keeping active can make a real difference.
  • FOLLOW UP- following up with your doctor is so important! They can refer you to other health care professionals (if needed) that can help you to work through bad feelings and emotions.
  • FIND NEW THINGS- not being able to do things you once could can be such a daunting prospect. However, use this as a way to find new things that you can do to stay active and enjoy. Take part in activities that don’t bother your injuries. Your local doctor can help you figure out how much you can do and help you with ideas and plans.