A car crash can inflict severe emotional trauma on victims. It may lead to nightmares in the days, weeks, months, and even years after the incident. If you’re suffering from nightmares after your car crash, here are some steps you can take to better cope with the trauma.
See a Therapist
One of the best things to do with recurrent nightmares after a crash is to see a therapist. They will have dealt with many cases like yours before and can potentially diagnose you with one of the following conditions:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Acute Stress Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
Should you be diagnosed with one of these conditions, you can then begin a treatment plan to address it, which may work to alleviate some of your nightmares.
Record your dreams and nightmares, as they can provide insight into thoughts you may be having through the day and the way your trauma is affecting you. If a pattern emerges in your nightmares, you might have a better ability to address the trauma causing them.
Get Out of Bed
If you’re missing sleep due to nightmares, you might lie in bed to try to make up for lost sleep. This can create a stressful environment for your sleep, which can compound the effects of the nightmares. Try getting out of bed and engaging in relaxing activities or exercises to calm down. This can help you build a regular sleep schedule, which can lead to overall improvements in mental health.
Join a Survivor Group
Sometimes talking about your trauma with others who will understand can alleviate some of the stress around it. A survivor group of others who are also dealing with the fallout from a car accident can listen to and empathize with your trauma. This could also help you to obtain closure after the incident as you see others are continuing their lives after an accident.
Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercises
If you’re having nightmares, it’s likely that you’re experiencing elevated stress levels throughout the day. This is a method of relaxation across the body meant to relieve stress through the relaxation of one muscle group after another, from the head to the toes. If you do this before sleep, it may be able to make sleep easier and more restful.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Sound mental health and physical health are interlinked, so make sure you’re eating properly and getting plenty of exercises to deal with your trauma. “Self-care” is a popular trend right now, but treating yourself to a quiet book, a day outside, or another relaxing, fulfilling activity can take your mind off your trauma and help you to move past it.
Try Image Rehearsal Therapy (IRT)
Studies show that IRT has some success in allowing patients to reduce the frequency and severity of recurrent nightmares. During IRT, patients examine the imagery of their nightmares and create endings to them that are not stressful. Imagining these new endings of the nightmares can help your mind access them if they recur again.
A car crash can leave you with significant mental trauma that impacts your ability to live a full, happy life. This makes it vital to determine fault in a car accident, as you could be entitled to significant compensation that can reduce the financial burdens it has placed on you. An experienced car accident lawyer can investigate your case and fight on your behalf to get you what you’re owed from the responsible parties. Mental and emotional trauma can cause real and lasting damage in your life, making it vital to secure the compensation you’re entitled to.