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For better or worse: surviving a serious car accident together

Author: Valerie Stout Cyrus
Published: Jan 12 2014

Serious automobile crashes are top news stories reported nearly each week in the media. But what is not reported is the emotional and psychological effects that survivors suffer as a result of the accident.

If your spouse was involved in a serious automobile accident, the marriage vow, "for better or for worse," may be tested during the course of your spouse’s recovery. Guilt, sadness, anger and hopelessness can overwhelm your spouse without your help to overcome the trauma. Catastrophic injuries can occur with a serious car accident and they are not always easy to diagnose and the symptoms come and go. The website of a Tampa, FL personal injury attorney states, "Most people who have sustained head trauma look just like people who have not sustained head trauma. For many, a traumatic brain injury can seem like a silent condition, affecting them and their families in subtle, yet very painful, ways."

Surviving A Serious Car Accident

According to trauma experts, unresolved trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). While PTSD is mostly associated with those who have experienced military combat, the psychiatric disorder can also be experienced by individuals involved in serious automobile accidents.

It's not unusual for survivors of high-impact vehicle crashes to become depressed, upset, anxious or feeling as if they are going crazy when they are reminded of the event, either through a memory or their physical aches or chronic pain. Survivors also fear that an accident can happen again and there's no safe place to turn. But fortunately for them, they have their spouses.

How to help your spouse

There are several ways spouses can help their mates during their recovery process:

1. Take over the driving duties, if at all possible. Victims of serious accidents may not be physically able to drive until a doctor gives the approval. Those who were not seriously injured are also not in a hurry to get behind the wheel again. You can help by driving your spouse to and from appointments and other places until he or she gets their physical strength and confidence back again.

2. Hire a housekeeper or caregiver. If your mate does most of the chores around the house or is the primary caregiver and cannot continue those duties, then consider hiring a home care service. Some insurance companies will pay for home health care for accident victims. Home health care can include visits from licensed nurses and aides who perform light housekeeping duties. This will also help you out if you have to go to work daily and can't handle all of these responsibilities.

3. Encourage your spouse to talk and be willing to listen. While you may not want to hear the stories again, don't show your frustration or else your spouse may shut down even more.

4. Plan social activities with others. Connect with family, friends, other accident survivors or support groups. It's important that your spouse has a support network to tap into when necessary.

5. Seek professional counseling. If you have done all that you know to do and your spouse does not seem to be improving, then it's time to ask for professional help.

Depending on how deep your spouse's emotional and physical wounds are, you may need to seek professional help and support for yourself. The key is to have patience and to let your spouse know that you both are going to work through this and get to the other side together.

Valerie Stout Cyrus is a professional writer who frequently researches health and family issues. She has found that Tampa, FL personal injury attorney, Williams Law Association, P.A. will work hard to prove the severity of your spouse’s injuries while you work together as a couple to get through this traumatic experience.

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