October 20, 2011
Suffering from depression after a car accident can be just as devastating as suffering from more visible injuries like broken bones, paralysis, or head trauma. In fact, other injuries may trigger or exacerbate your depression in the first place.
Depression isn’t just a feeling; it’s a serious mental health issue that demands medical treatment, just like any other health problem after a car accident.
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own in a car accident, then the insurance company should cover your medical expenses. That includes any treatment you seek for your depression.
But how do you know if you’re suffering from depression?
It takes a doctor to properly diagnose you with the condition. However, knowing the symptoms can help you feel confident in seeking a diagnosis in the first place.
If you’re experiencing any of the following ten symptoms, consider speaking with your doctor about the possibility of depression after an Indiana car accident.
Depression Symptoms after a Car Accident
- Loss of interest
- Feeling constantly sad
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty sleeping and/or lack of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness and/or hopelessness
- Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
- Feelings of guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
What If I’ve Had Depression Before?
Car accidents are traumatic experiences. For people who’ve suffered from depression previously, their car accident may trigger a relapse.
No matter your history with depression, if you’re suffering from depression after a car accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your mental health treatment through an Indiana car accident claim.
Anxiety is more than just normal worry.
An anxiety disorder can result in panic attacks, phobias, and other symptoms such as insomnia, muscle tension, and gastrointestinal issues.
A good indicator that your anxiety is more than everyday worry is if it interferes with your ability to live a normal life.
If you can’t leave your house without going through a certain ritual, for example, then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. The same may be true if you want to attend a party but stay home out of fear of socializing.
Anxiety disorders are separate from depression. You can suffer from depression without anxiety, and you can suffer from anxiety without depression. However, anxiety and depression often accompany one another, especially after a trauma like a car accident.
If you’re suddenly experiencing anxiety for the first time after a car accident, or if your chronic anxiety is worse or coupled with another symptom on this list, then it may be a good idea to visit your doctor for further evaluation.
2. Loss of Interest
Another symptom of depression is loss of interest. If you’re uninterested in people or things you once enjoyed, you may be suffering from depression.
It could be work, your family, a hobby, your friends — any number of things. If you find yourself numb to what once brought you joy, that’s a good indicator you may be depressed.
Loss of interest can be hard to notice. Take a minute to write a list of what you enjoyed before your car accident. Ask yourself if those things still interest you. If not, ask yourself if something else has taken their place (changing or evolving interests are fairly normal).
If you’ve lost interest in those things and nothing has replaced them, you may want to see your doctor.
People often have the misconception that because depression is a mental health issue, it doesn’t have any physical symptoms. That’s not the case.
Nearly everyone gets headaches every now and then, but persistent headaches may be a sign of depression.
Depression-related headaches typically don’t ease with treatment. Increased tension in the body may result in other aches and pains such as jaw tension or chronic indigestion.
If you’re suffering from headaches after a car accident, make sure to rule out other causes like a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or whiplash. If your headaches won’t go away or are accompanied by other symptoms of depression, then you may want to consider seeking out mental health treatment.
4. Feeling Constantly Sad
Sometimes, depression is mistakenly reduced to simply feeling constantly sad. Although depression encompasses much more, feeling constantly sad is still a symptom of depression.
What makes this a symptom of a mental health issue is the second word: constantly. You may have heard people describe it as “spiraling.”
Unlike with normal sadness, people who suffer from depression may find themselves unable to escape this kind of sadness despite their best efforts. No amount of “cheering up” or “positive thinking” can stop the spiral of sadness.
It’s normal to feel sad after being injured in a car accident, especially considering all that you may have lost. It can be difficult to adjust to the loss of your health, for example, or the loss of financial security. You may have lost wages you were depending on or future career opportunities that motivated you toward success.
But if your sadness seems never-ending, it may be time to get a professional opinion on your mental health.
5. Difficulty Eating
Issues with eating may manifest in many different ways for a person struggling with depression.
On the one hand, depression may cause a person to turn to food as a source of comfort. This may result in overeating or binge-eating.
On the other hand, depression may cause a person to turn to food as a source of control. This may result in under-eating, eating and purging, or neglecting to eat at all.
Depression can also cause gastrointestinal issues that may result in a loss of appetite. These various issues with eating can cause more physical problems to develop, such as ulcers.
Disordered eating, no matter how it manifests, may be a symptom of depression. If your eating habits change substantially after your car accident, remember that you are not alone. Share your struggles with a trusted friend, and take the step toward recovery by seeking medical treatment.
6. Difficult Sleeping and/or Lack of Energy
Just like with eating, people suffering from depression can experience difficulty with sleeping on both ends of the spectrum.
On the one hand, a person struggling with depression may experience insomnia.
On the other hand, a person struggling with depression may oversleep and struggle to get out of bed.
Beyond a person’s sleeping habits, depression may cause a person to go through their day with a distinct lack of energy that simply sleeping better can’t solve.
Whether you’re suffering from insomnia, an inability to get out of bed, or constant fatigue throughout the day, you should consider seeing your doctor and asking about depression.
7. Feelings of Worthlessness and/or Hopelessness
After an Indiana car accident, your life may be thrown into chaos.
You might face unimaginable injuries requiring intense medical treatment and physical therapy. You may face an ever-increasing pile of medical bills. Without a vehicle, you may be wondering how you can possibly get to work to earn the money to repair or replace it. You may not be able to take much time off from work for recovery, so you may fear for your job security.
All of these factors can increase feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness in a person who has been injured in a car accident.
When these feelings affect your ability to live a normal life, then you may have to consider that these are symptoms of a bigger issue: depression.
8. Difficulty Making Decisions or Concentrating
Some people describe depression as a sort of fog that settles on their brain.
Depression can make it difficult to remember details, concentrate on what’s happening around you, or make decisions. Friends and family may express that you seem withdrawn or not fully present in conversations.
No one expects you to be loud, boisterous, or happy-go-lucky after being injured in a car accident. A certain solemnity is to be expected. But if your quiet demeanor is masking a fogginess that affects your decision-making, then you may want to seek medical treatment.
9. Feelings of Guilt
Some car accidents result in serious injuries, and some, unfortunately, even result in death.
Survivors of car accidents may fall into depression and wrestle with feelings of guilt for details concerning the accident or for surviving the accident.
If you’re struggling with feelings of guilt, seek treatment through a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. It’s important to create a safe space to work through those difficult feelings.
10. Thoughts of Death or Suicide
Thinking extensively about death in general or your own death in particular is typically a sign of depression.
If you are contemplating suicide, seek immediate help. You are not alone. You can find help at the Indiana Suicide Prevention website.
Help after an Indiana Car Accident
Every case is unique, but if you think you may be suffering from depression after a car accident, please consider seeking counseling and/or other medical treatment. Depression that is left untreated can quickly escalate. It can become a disability and completely alter an individual’s quality of life.
You may worry about affording treatment for your depression after your car accident. That’s where an Indiana car accident attorney can help.
At Hensley Legal Group, we want you to focus on getting better both physically and mentally after a car accident. Let us worry about filing a claim to get you the compensation you deserve. For more information, download our free ebook, Consumer’s Guide for Injured Victims. In the meantime, call us today at (317) 472-3333, or contact us online for a free conversation about your car accident claim.