A bicycle accident can lead to serious physical injuries. However, it is important not to overlook the mental impact of being involved in a crash, especially a serious accident or a near fatality. Experts warn that this can lead to a condition known as Acute Stress Disorder (ASD).
This disorder can lead to symptoms like:
- Re-experiencing the crash, perhaps in dreams or in flashbacks while you are awake.
- Feeling physical or psychological distress when certain things trigger memories of the event. For instance, you may feel like you are having a panic attack the next time you ride a bike, even if you are in no danger.
- Having a hard time falling asleep.
- Feeling irritable more often than normal.
- Having outbursts of anger, even over small things.
- Being obsessively careful and watchful. This is often known as hypervigilance.
- Having difficulty concentrating on other tasks, perhaps being preoccupied with what happened to you.
- Feeling jumpy and having an exaggerated startle response.
- Trying desperately to avoid triggers or reminders of the crash.
As you can imagine, these symptoms can change your life significantly. Perhaps you used to commute to work every day on your bike. After a crash, even when you feel well enough to ride physically, you may not be able to get back on the bike. You lose a means of transportation and a hobby that you loved, all because of that one incident.
You can get treatment for both mental and physical ailments in the wake of an accident. Make sure you know what rights you may have to financial compensation for these harms and losses.