After a car accident, people often focus on recovering from the physical aftereffects. However, a wreck can also create severe mental and emotional trauma that may dramatically affect a person’s life.
One consequence of an accident could be vehophobia or a related condition, amaxophobia. What are these disorders, and what can a person do about them?
Triggers for vehophobia
A car wreck might make a person afraid of getting behind the wheel again. Mental health professionals term this condition as vehophobia. A person who cannot bear to even ride in a car has a disorder that people call amaxophobia.
Many people feel anxious about driving after a collision, but phobias elevate the sensation to a debilitating level. The fear becomes irrational and can prevent a person from handling necessary tasks or holding a job.
A person does not necessarily have to experience an accident to acquire these conditions. Some individuals start to deal with symptoms after witnessing or reading about severe accidents.
Common symptoms of vehophobia and amaxophobia
These fears are specific forms of post-traumatic stress disorder and may display physically. Symptoms include:
- Panic attacks
- Uncontrolled trembling or sweating
- Hyperventilation and increased heart rate when near a vehicle
- Nightmares and intrusive thoughts about accidents
If a person does not receive treatment for the condition, the effects could become permanent.
Treatments for vehophobia
People who fear they are dealing with post-accident vehophobia or amaxophobia can talk to a mental health professional about the condition and discover ways to deal with it. Treatments include defensive driver training, exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
An accident can alter a person’s life physically and mentally. With the appropriate tools and assistance, a person has the hope of recovery.