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Ptsd After A Car Accident


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I had a car accident in April where I was hit by an irresponsible driver at a high speed. I have had CBT but my therapist says I need referring to a psychologist and am going to my Doctor this week for meds. Has anyone been in a similar situation? The anxiety and fear I have now surrounded by car travel is horrendous. It's triggered a lot of things that were not even there before.

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I have been in 3 low speed car accidents, but the last one I was a passenger rather than a driver.  We we driving along and someone came speeding up from behind and slammed into us from behind.  I now can't ride in a single car without having anxiety, something I never had before all my life.  Riding in a car never bothered me one bit before.  It certainly isn't disabling in my case but I can't enjoy being in a car anymore.  It is just one more thing to add to my list of problems I need to treat/address.  I'll get around to working on it and overcoming it eventually.  I have had pretty good success in treating previous anxiety conditions of mine(social anxiety, OCD) as long as I had the resources and energy to devote to them.  A psychologist may actually help you address the underlying problems associated with your anxiety and cars, unlike meds which are going to be unlikely to cause any permanent change or recovery on this issue other than treating the symptoms.  

Edited by NC86
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Thank you for your advice on this. I really need something to help me short-term until I see the psychologist, so am hoping my Doctor will have the answer. I always enjoyed having a car and didn't mind driving before this - it is completely inhibiting at the moment.

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Catbadge,

I've been diagnosed with PTSD for military combat trauma.  Its the exact same thing, just images and feelings, a smell of burning diesel, a look in someone's eye.  I had all of these irrational fears for 10 full years.  Much of it was triggered from convoy attacks, so moving vehicles are the last place I wanted to be.  I even moved to an apartment for no other reason than it was centrally located and I could walk everywhere.

 

I finally heard of a program in which I told the story of my worst convoy to a therapist in the present tense, closed my eyes and really relived it.  I then taped the recording and replayed it to myself once per week.  Then I told the story again in person day 8 and recorded it, again replayed it once per week, and so on.  I've done this for 7 straight weeks so far.  

 

It was hell the first couple of times, I really wanted to avoid it forever before I got started, and lots of days I have avoided replaying it. 

 

But really good changes have started to come.  The story is not so powerful anymore, its just a part of my life that I've reconciled with and am moving on from.  Its rapidly approaching 'no big deal' status.  That may be hard for you to picture, but that day can come.  

 

I wish I would have faced my fears 10 years ago.  I hope you don't wait.  I'm cheering for you!

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Thankyou GSpolar. I really really want to be over this!!!!!! It feels as bad and 'new' as ever, even though it was 7 months ago. Fortunately, my job has been a really good driving force although I need to drive to get there and back.

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Thank you for your advice on this. I really need something to help me short-term until I see the psychologist, so am hoping my Doctor will have the answer. I always enjoyed having a car and didn't mind driving before this - it is completely inhibiting at the moment.

Absolutely, meds are great for stabilizing your immediate situation so that you can devote resources and time towards finding actual, permanent, long term solutions to whatever problems you have.  I always believe meds should be a stop along the road to recovery.  I just don't believe they should be the only stop, nor the final destination in most cases.

Edited by NC86
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Hi Catbadge and welcome here. 

 

Im sorry you are dealing with this. It took a long time for me to properly understand my ptsd. GSPolar gave you excellent advice. Make sure the CBT isnt the generic type and is Trauma Focused CBT or look for some other specific form of trauma therapy like EMDR. Sometimes we need to learn enough general coping and calming skills first before doing proper trauma work though. 

 

Just education about the symptoms o ptsd and managing them can help and whatever t you get should include that for you. Personally I would also look for a t that specialises in trauma therapy.  Let us know what happens. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for your advice. I have been on some prescribed meds for just over a week and it is so far having a hugely positive impact - sometimes I feel 'pre-accident' - which is a euphoric feeling, although I am experiencing some side effects. PTSD really sucks but I'm trying to not allow it to rule my life any longer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for your advice. I have been on some prescribed meds for just over a week and it is so far having a hugely positive impact - sometimes I feel 'pre-accident' - which is a euphoric feeling, although I am experiencing some side effects. PTSD really sucks but I'm trying to not allow it to rule my life any longer.

Glad to hear you are doing better!

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