Once a person has been involved in a car, bus, motorcycle or truck accident, there fear of driving can be overwhelming. Learning to overcome that fear can be difficult depending on how deeply it affects the person involved. Some developed a heightened sense of awareness that keeps them continually on edge when they are behind the wheel. Others tend to overcompensate by driving slower than the speed limit or avoiding high traffic areas.
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common diagnosis for individuals who have been involved in bad car crashes. The trauma of the event can cause nightmares, insomnia and phobias associated with driving or riding in a vehicle. When this happens, how does a person overcome the fear and frustration? Some choose to never drive again. Others make a conscious decision to not let the fear control their lives.
Understand There Is a Problem
Just as with any other emotional or physical health issue, realize there is a problem and take the appropriate steps to address it. It may be hard for the person to admit they have a fear of driving or riding in a vehicle, but once they can, the healing process is allowed to begin. Get them to talk about the event and let them know the experience is worthy of the fear they carry. Encouraging them to seek help to control the fears should be the next step.
No one can take the accident or its aftermath away, but they can help a person deal with it. This can mean visiting the scene of the accident or the burial place of someone who was killed in the accident. Facing the event allows the person to acknowledge that it happened and begin to move forward. A mental health professional who has experience with PTSD survivors can help the person come to terms with the aftermath of the accident. As the person moves through their fears, they can begin to resume daily activities and reclaim their lives. Some people recover quickly, while others may take extra time, especially if they suffered extensive physical injuries or lost a loved one.
Take It Slow
Never force a person to do something that increases their anxiety. This can hamper the healing process and actually set them back. Allow them to take healing steps in their own time. As their body heals and the physical reminders begin to disappear, there are fewer, constant reminders to bring their mind back to the event. Baby steps moving steadily forward are much easier to achieve than giant steps that can cause them to falter and slide backwards.
When a person decides to get behind the wheel for the first time, a short trip down a quiet road is a much better choice than a trip to the mall via the freeway. Allowing them to go at their own pace helps them to deal with issues they experience in their own way and in their own time. Motivating them with pushing puts the healing process in their hands and shows them they are the ones back in control of their own lives.
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