Every year in Florida there are thousands and even hundreds of thousands of car accidents. Tragically, those accidents result in around 3,000 deaths and thousands of injuries. While the physical toll of these accidents is bad enough, these numbers don’t take into account the mental and emotional toll of the Sunshine State’s car crashes.
One example of how motorists struggle mentally and emotionally after a car accident is by experiencing vehophobia. As you might guess, vehophobia refers to a fear of driving. For some, the memories of the accident and the injuries suffered conspire together to create extreme anxiety whenever the person gets behind the wheel.
What makes matters worse, is that like with other forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), even if the danger from the accident was only imagined, it can still be debilitating. However, the good news about vehophobia is that with treatment and time, symptoms can lessen and individuals can get back on the road with confidence.
Here are several ways medical professionals treat vehophobia and other car-related post-traumatic stress disorders.
If you think you are suffering from vehophobia you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. At the appointment, he or she will likely give you a physical examination and do a psychological evaluation. After these are completed, if your doctor diagnoses you with vehophobia (or PTSD) he or she will most likely prescribe one of several different types of psychotherapy.
The goal of the psychotherapy treatment you receive is to teach you how to cope with your symptoms and learn what triggers them. Additionally, if there are underlying mental illnesses, those issues will be addressed during therapy.
One of the most common types of psychotherapy individuals suffering from vehophobia and PTSD receive is what is known as exposure therapy. With exposure therapy the patient learns how to:
- Safely face the situations that induce anxiety and cause fear
- Cope with that anxiety and fear in effective ways
Eventually, the patient should be able to drive again without feelings of fear and anxiety, or, if either does arise, with the skills to effectively manage the situation.
Another common type of psychotherapy is known as cognitive therapy. During cognitive therapy sessions, patients often:
- Talk about how they are feeling to reveal destructive patterns in their thinking
- Recognize that such ways of thinking are not productive or healthy
For those who are dealing with vehophobia, it is likely they would receive both exposure and cognitive therapy treatments.
If there are underlying mental health conditions contributing to your case of vehophobia or PTSD, there is also the possibility that your doctor could prescribe medication. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are commonly used to treat patients with PTSD. In many cases, medication will be used in addition to therapy
Regaining Confidence on the Road
What can also be helpful in dealing with vehophobia is seeking to regain confidence on the road. This can be done by visualizing driving while in the safety of your home or even by starting out as a passenger and then slowly taking over behind the wheel. Taking your car for short trips through areas with slow speed limits can also be a helpful way to restore confidence.
Finally, taking a defensive driver’s ed class can prove helpful in giving you confidence when you are driving. In these types of classes, students are taught what to watch for when on the road and how to protect themselves from other drivers.
With driving such an important part of modern life, it might be worth exploring many different paths to healing.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been in a car accident and are suffering from vehophobia and other injuries, contact a qualified Miami area car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Rather than being saddled with the high costs of psychotherapy treatments, hire a lawyer who will advocate on your behalf and work to get you the compensation you need to cover your expenses and more.
Your lawyer will handle all aspects of your case and claim so you can worry about more important things like your health and recovery. You’ve been through a traumatic experience and a lawyer can help you on your journey to feeling whole again.