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Is driving anxiety after a wreck ruining your life?

One of the more insidious repercussions of an auto accident is lingering driving anxiety. This condition is very common and causes people to be unable to drive. Some are so traumatized that they are no longer comfortable even as passengers in vehicles driven by others.

The reasons for driving anxiety following a collision vary, but many fear getting into another wreck and harming themselves or others on the road. Others worry that they will experience a panic attack behind the wheel.

As you can imagine, such a problem can have a devastating effect on the quality of life for the accident victim. Below are ways to combat driving anxiety after an accident.

-- Taking a driving course. This requires facing your fears, but in a supportive environment where an instructor is present to provide guidance and advice.

-- Psychotherapy. This is the most effective strategy for combating trauma-based anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you techniques to manage your driving anxiety. Therapists encourage their patients to face their fears gradually. Exposure and Response Prevention therapy fights driving phobias by requiring patients to perform activities related to driving, such as sitting in a car. starting it, driving a block, etc.

-- Medication. While not the answer for everyone, taking a dose of prescription medicine to help you cope with driving anxiety can be effective. However, it doesn't address the primary issue and only treats the symptoms.

Embarking on a course of psychotherapy can get quite expensive, and accident victims can run up a mountain of therapy and medication bills. If you have been involved in an auto accident, a personal injury attorney can make sure to include claims related to driving anxiety and subsequent therapies in the petition for damages.

Source: Huffington Post, "How to Beat Driving Anxiety After Suffering a Car Accident," Andrew Tai, accessed Aug. 14, 2015

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