Motor Vehicle Accident Psychologist

Motor Vehicle Accident Psychologist

Motor Vehicle Accident Psychologist

Motor Vehicle Accidents Can Change Lives

After a motor vehicle accident or personal trauma, psychological symptoms are common. 50% of persons injured in motor vehicle accidents suffer from psychological problems. Seeing a motor vehicle psychologist can help and the costs of therapy, when you are referred by a GP, are covered. The key psychological factor in the development of trauma symptoms seems to be that, even for just a few moments, there is an experience of intense fear and the expectation or experience of personal harm. Each person has a unique and personal constellation of symptoms in the wake of such an experience.

Acute Stress Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Individual vary in the symptoms that they experience after a motor vehicle accident. It is normal to experience these symptoms after an accident. Seeing a psychologist will help to resolve them more quickly and could prevent the development of chronic problems.

  • Anxiety levels are raised – in situations where the person may feel at risk or in any situation that reminds them of the incident
  • Chronic physical tension may increase pain levels
  • Panic attacks may begin
  • Intrusive thoughts and images, sometimes flashbacks
  • Vulnerability levels are raised – even in one’s home
  • Confidence decreases as there is a loss of the ability to cope
  • Suspicion increases – victims report feeling “paranoid” about many people with whom they come into contact
  • Sleep disturbances – reminiscent nightmares are common
  • Fatigue arising from sleep problems and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Concentration and memory may be poor – some victims are unable to work
  • Aggressive outbursts and irritability – inconsequential incidents may take on huge proportions
  • Isolation and withdrawal from others – victims may believe no one else understands their situation
  • Avoidance of the feared object or situation (e.g. cars or driving)
  • Physical symptoms of stress such as aches and pains, headaches and gastro-intestinal problems may develop

Chronic Pain and Depression

High levels of chronic pain often make many activities, including work, recreation and work around the home, difficult and painful. This often leads to the development of depressive symptoms and withdrawal from activities, friends and relatives.

  • Concentration levels drop
  • Making decisions is hard
  • Distraction and focus on pain – pain levels can be ignored on a temporary basis but demand attention as they increase
  • Interpersonal withdrawal and a sense of personal isolation
  • Depressed mood, pessimism, diminished interest or lack of motivation
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or low self esteem

Pain management counselling will involve cognitive therapy for depression, as well as learning relaxation skills, how to pace activity and to change self-talk and develop positive attitudes.

Often, new life goals need to be adopted and relationships have to be renegotiated.

Adjustment Disorders

It can be expected that many people will experience symptoms of stress after being in an accident, perhaps being injured and having had a shock. This is normal and often symptoms will resolve relatively quickly. However, they may be severe enough to interfere with relationships or your ability to work. In this case, seeing a psychologist is appropriate. Provision of high quality support and psychological treatment soon after the event can assist recovery and settle symptoms more quickly.

Symptoms of an Adjustment Disorder are:

  • Physical symptoms – stomach upset, skin rash, headaches, fatigue
  • Loss of the ability to control emotions – a person may flare up suddenly into anger, tears or laughter
  • Poor motivation – a person may sit around, unable to get started
  • Sensitivity – relative intolerance of sensory stimulation
  • Irritability – loss of the ability to ignore things which were previously tolerated
  • Unpredictability – changed response patterns, which superficially resemble a change in personality
  • Loss of perspective – an unbalanced focus on one or more aspect of their situation

Driving Anxiety

Fear or nervousness when driving often occurs after a motor vehicle accident and for some people may persist in the long term. Individuals with driving anxiety are often unwilling to accept the risk that they may be involved in another accident and, ironically, their anxiety when driving may make them less safe on the road. Symptoms may include:

  • High anxiety when driving a car
  • High anxiety as a passenger
  • Avoidance of driving completely
  • Partial avoidance, such as driving only in one’s local area

Motor Vehicle Accident Psychologist at Rose Park Psychology

Marie O’Dae offers therapy following a Motor Vehicle Accident. If you would like more information about our services, or to book an appointment, please feel free to contact us. We can be contacted via email on or over the phone on (08) 8333 0940.