When it comes to auto accidents, the physical injuries can be devastating. Vehicles are heavy and operating at high speeds. When they collide, the resulting force can cause major injuries. This is no surprise. But what may be less known is the long-lasting effect an auto accident can have on the victim’s mental health. Motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims often suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, chronic pain, mood disorders, and more.
A study published in the National Institutes of Health found that 25-33% of MVA survivors showed signs of PTSD at least 30-days after the accident. While this percentage may seem low, data found that over 2 million MVA survivors in the U.S. suffer from PTSD. This is clearly a significant health problem.
After an accident, we often encourage our clients to turn to their support system – friends, family, and community members – for help. A strong support system can help to prevent or reduce the negative effects of depression caused by a traumatic accident. However, with new restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, MVA survivors are finding it difficult to connect.
Many predict the COVID-19 crisis will cause a rise in depression and other mental health issues as stress during the prolonged quarantine increases. For many, depression can be influenced by environmental factors. The perfect storm of stress from getting sick, being out of work, lack of access to food, and interpersonal isolation can take its toll on your mental health rather quickly.
For MVA survivors, dealing with the aftermath of the accident is even harder as they also face the stress of this pandemic. It’s more important than ever to take proactive steps to improve your mental state and help prevent depression and other disorders from taking hold.
These tips will help your post-accident depression during the Coronavirus:
This may be easier said than done. When you feel isolated and depressed, you may feel ashamed or like a burden to your loved ones. This can keep you unmotivated from reaching out and socializing with others. However, talking to friends and family is one of the best methods to stave off depression. Call and video chat with those people in your support network and be honest with how you’re feeling. You will find that just talking about what you are struggling with can make things look brighter.
Regular exercise releases endorphins, promotes circulation, fights fatigue, and helps to clear the mind. It’s the perfect remedy when you are feeling stuck and you can’t find an escape from negative thoughts. Walk your dog, dust off your bike, turn on a dance video, or try a yoga routine. Even if you can’t venture outside of your home, you can still find activities to get your blood moving. Talk to your doctor about appropriate exercises you can do, especially if you are undergoing treatment for accident recovery. And incorporate physical movement into your daily routine.
Get Daily Sunlight
Right now in Texas, we are experiencing the best weather we will see all year. We are out of the winter chill and have yet to reach triple-digit temperatures. Take advantage of the rare weather and spend as much time as you can in the sunlight. Not only does the sunlight help your body produce vitamin D, but it also boosts serotonin levels which improves your mood. Combine exercise in the sunlight and you’re sure to see an improvement in your mood.
Eating a healthy diet can be especially difficult right now. As we are all confined to our homes, we have constant easy access to our pantry and fridge. Calorie-heavy foods are within arm’s reach, and when you are feeling depressed, it’s very easy to turn to food for comfort. Take some time to consider what you’re eating and work to incorporate healthier options into your diet. Avoid sugar and refined carbs. Eat rounded meals with protein, complex carbs, and a dose of healthy fats. Don’t wait too long between meals and avoid eating out of boredom. Doing what you can to view food as a source of energy to fuel your exercise and activities for the day will go a long way in making you feel so much better.
Turn Off the News
A constant stream of Coronavirus news can be hard to handle in the best of cases. You can stay updated on the necessary information but avoid leaving the news on for prolonged periods. Instead, find other activities to fill your time. Listen to music and put together a puzzle, watch a comedy, read a book, play with a pet, organize a closet, take a long bath, or spend time outdoors.
Reach Out to the Professionals
Throughout this time, stay connected with your attorney and physician if you are undergoing medical treatment. These professionals can provide recommendations and help connect you with other mental health professionals and resources. If you find you’ve taken these steps to boost your mental state, but you still find your depression getting worse, you should seek help. For immediate help, you can find resources here.
We are part of the community and we understand what you are going through. We’re here to remind you that we are in this together. As your personal injury legal team, we are here for you. Contact us if you need help recovering after your accident.