Published on March 17, 2023

Can You Develop Depression After a Car Accident?

Car accidents can leave lasting physical and emotional injuries. Although physical scars are obvious, car accidents can have a significant impact on the victim’s mental health.  Depression is a common mental health disorder that can develop after traumatic experiences such as car accidents.  

In this article, we will discuss the relationship between depression and car accidents, list the common symptoms of depression, and describe the treatment options for car accident victims suffering from depression.  Lastly, we will discuss whether you can receive financial compensation for depression caused by a car accident.

Is It Possible That Car Accidents Cause Depression?

After a car accident, it is normal to be feeling an array of emotions:

  • You may feel angry at the other driver for causing the car accident. 
  • You may feel sad because the injuries you sustained prevent you from doing your favorite hobbies.
  • You may feel frustrated because you are in pain when performing daily activities such as house chores or completing a full 8-hour shift at work.
  • You might be feeling anxious because you don’t know how to continue living your life post-accident.

Not only are these feelings valid, they are completely normal to feel after a traumatic event such as a car accident.  Emotional trauma associated with a car accident can cause intense feelings of helplessness, fear, and anxiety that last long after the accident.  

This is a mental health disorder known as depression and can have a negative impact on the victim’s ability to work, socialize, and complete daily activities.

What Are The Symptoms of Depression?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a mental health disorder that negatively affects the way individuals think, feel, and act.  Although depression may look different for each person, the most common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling extremely sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest for activities an individual used to enjoy doing
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increased or decreased appetite 
  • Feeling depleted of energy 
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Feeling unworthy or guilty
  • Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making any decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms must persist for two weeks and represent significant change from your baseline level of functioning to be a depression diagnosis.

Seek Professional Treatment

Depression can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication.  Mental health professionals often give both treatments simultaneously to those suffering with depression because it has shown to be an effective combination of treatments.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps patients develop coping skills that can change their own problematic thinking patterns, emotions, and behaviors.  This type of therapy encourages patients to become their own therapist so that they can eventually change their own behavioral patterns outside of their sessions with a licensed mental health professional.

Antidepressants can reduce the symptoms of depression, however, it may not completely cure depression in certain individuals.  We suggest you speak with your doctor about the various types of antidepressants so you can find the right one for you.

Can You Receive Compensation For Your Depression Diagnosis After a Car Accident?

According to the car accident attorneys at Washington Injury Law, you might be able to claim noneconomic damages and receive compensation for your suffering.  Economic damages refer to tangible losses from the car accident such as car damages and loss of wages from the inability to work. Noneconomic damages refer to losses that are not easily quantifiable such as the development of depression after a car accident.  

Overall, the emotional trauma from car accidents can cause depression.  You might be eligible to receive compensation through noneconomic damages. Additionally, seek professional treatment if you experience symptoms of depression after a car accident.  Depression can be managed with proper treatment and you can feel in control of your life again.  

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