Treating Vehophobia After a Car Accident

There are many consequences of car accidents. Physical injuries and financial losses are two of the most common types of damages by car crashes. However, emotional distress and psychological injuries are also common damages caused by car wrecks.

Vehophobia is a fear of driving a motor vehicle. That fear can stem from a variety of reasons, including being in a car accident. The disorder is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

PTSD after a car accident causes a variety of symptoms, including extreme fear or anxiety of anything that reminds the person of the trauma they experienced.

In addition, a person with Vehophobia may also experience other PTSD symptoms that contribute to their fear of driving, such as:

  • Flashbacks, nightmares, and night terrors
  • Anxiety and panic attacks upon hearing sirens or seeing emergency vehicles
  • Avoiding places and people who remind them of the automobile accident
  • Refusing to ride in an automobile

A person with Vehophobia may believe that if they drive a car, they will get into another car accident. In addition, the thought of driving a motor vehicle causes crippling anxiety that prevents them from even sitting in the driver’s seat. Another common fear associated with Vehophobia is the fear that if the person drive’s again, they will harm someone they love or a stranger.

Whatever the reason may be for avoiding driving, Vehophobia after a car accident can be debilitating. It can result in severe depression because they blame themselves and feel guilty because they cannot drive. In addition, they may feel as if they are a burden to their family.

In some cases, severe Vehophobia can result in isolation and suicidal thoughts. It can cause a person to lose their job and be unable to support themselves or their family.

Is There an Effective Treatment for Vehophobia After a Car Crash?

Several treatments might help an individual with Vehophobia overcome their fear of driving after a car accident.

Psychotherapy

Doctors may prescribe psychotherapy as a treatment for Vehophobia. A physician may use one or more forms of psychotherapy to treat Vehophobia. Therapy may include interpersonal therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and other forms of talk therapy.

Cognitive therapy focuses on changing thinking patterns. First, the person learns to recognize the problems or patterns in their thinking that are causing problems. Then, they learn to recognize these distortions in thinking, change these patterns to form a more productive or healthy thought pattern, and face their fears instead of avoiding them.

Exposure therapy is another form of psychotherapy. For example, exposing a person to the situations that caused the fear of driving, such as reimagining the accident. After continued exposure, the person may be placed behind the wheel of a car to help them learn ways to cope with the fear and anxiety in effective ways. 

Virtual reality is being used with exposure therapy to help patients with Vehophobia reimagine the accident. They can also “drive” again in a safe setting as they learn effective coping mechanisms.

Medication 

In some cases, medication may be used in combination with other therapies to treat Vehophobia. However, the medications are not intended to be long-term solutions. Therefore, physicians are careful to use medications to supplement behavioral or cognitive therapies so that the person learns ways to cope with Vehophobia without the long-term use of medications. 

Hypnotherapy 

Hypnosis is a more controversial form of treatment for Vehophobia. Some medical professionals do not believe that hypnotherapy is a valid form of treatment for PTSD and other emotional disorders. 

However, some people report success with hypnosis. Through hypnosis, they can explore what causes the fear of driving and address those issues in a relaxed state. Hypnotherapy may be used in conjunction with other therapies.

Defensive Driving Classes

Individuals may take defensive driving classes as part of their therapy for Vehophobia. Learning defensive driving techniques can give them more confidence as they get back behind the wheel. In addition, defensive driving skills may help them feel safer, which can also help combat the fear of driving. 

Including Vehophobia as a Damage Caused by a Car Accident

You can include Vehophobia as a damage in a car accident claim. Vehophobia is a diagnosable disorder. It can result in emotional distress, lost wages, mental anguish, and medical bills.

Documenting your Vehophobia is essential if you want to recover compensation for damages. Seeking medical treatment from a licensed health care professional is the best way to prove Vehophobia. 

A psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health care provider can document your symptoms that prove you have Vehophobia. Seeking medical treatment is crucial

Medical treatment helps you get back behind the wheel of a vehicle. It also helps you recover the compensation you deserve for the economic damages and non-economic damages you sustained because of another driver’s negligence or wrongdoing.