The human costs of COVID-19 - above and beyond the death toll - are difficult to estimate. However, we know that the pandemic's emotional costs include severe anxiety.
This is a common emotional problem that, among other effects, impairs driving yet gets little attention.
Extreme emotions can interfere with driving by distracting the mind and impairing:
- Clear thinking
- Quick decision-making
- Mental focus
We live in stressful times, and anxiety is a natural response to this. Yet, anxiety can reach excessive levels in some people to the point of becoming a disorder.
Normal anxiety occurs in response to a direct cause and dissipates when the cause is over; for example, going to a job interview or taking a test. This isn't the case with people suffering from an anxiety disorder. People who suffer from panic attacks or irrational phobias know that these can unexpectedly occur in ordinary situations.
If you were injured in a car accident by an impaired driver, an experienced Florida car accident attorney can help. Contact us at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary for a free consultation today.
How Severe Anxiety Affects Driving
Those overcome with worry or feeling highly stressed should avoid driving as they would while intoxicated.
A driver suffering from severe anxiety is wrapped up in their feelings of apprehension and dread, leaving little focus on the driving at hand. Emotionally distracted people are overwhelmed drivers who make mistakes, such as:
- Making sudden lane changes
- Sudden braking for no apparent reason
- Exhibiting other erratic driving
- Lose precision in their driving skills
- Impaired road awareness
- Exhibit feelings of detachment from the driving situation
- Have impaired reaction time
- Dangerous maneuvers from loss of judgment
Drivers may not recognize the debilitating effects of their emotions on their driving, although they may avoid well-known forms of distractions behind the wheel, such as:
- Cell phone use
People with anxiety disorder must seek treatment. When COVID-19 hit, in some cases, health problems were significantly exacerbated. Thus, pre-COVID, they may have received regular treatment and were being prescribed medication by a psychologist or psychiatrist for health problems, such as:
- Depression (from mild to severe stages)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Catastrophic brain injuries
Yet, when COVID-19 crowded the medical system, their treatment was disrupted because appointments were canceled, and they were more exposed to the severe hardships caused by anxiety. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that may cause distraction and therefore lead to erratic behavior behind the wheel include:
- An intense desire to get out of the vehicle
- Chest pain
- Dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness
- Fear and tension
- Feeling impatient and irritable
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Sweaty palms
- The difficulty of clear thinking and concentration
If you were involved in a Florida car accident, and you wish to seek compensation for the injuries caused by a driver with reckless behavior, reach out for the help of an experienced lawyer.
Anxiety or Depression Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
A study published in the American Medical Association's online journal determined that the number of people in the United States experiencing symptoms of depression increased three times during the pandemic. The study shows COVID-19 has caused higher rates of anxiety and depression across the general population and draws attention to the fact that mental illness might increase in the at-risk population. Risk factors of depression and anxiety disorder include:
- chronic stress
- gender (women are twice as likely to develop major depression)
- genetic predisposition or family history
- history of trauma (including previous involvement in a car crash)
- medication that might carry the risk of substance-induced depression
- personality traits
- substance use
- unsettled grief or loss
According to another source, the rate of adults who reported anxiety or depression has increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic:
- Younger adults were more likely to report anxiety.
- In July 2020, 4 in 10 adults age 18 and older reported symptoms of anxiety or depression.
- 53% of adults 18 and older said that worry and stress related to coronavirus had affected their mental health (from 39% in May).
- Among older adults (65 and older), close to half (46%) said that worry and stress related to coronavirus had harmed their mental health, up from 31% in May.
How Can a Miami Car Accident Attorney Help With Your Claim?
The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary's legal team will focus on your case - so you can focus on getting your life back on track - by:
- Gathering evidence
- Consulting with experts
- Negotiating with insurers on your behalf
- If it is necessary, we might even take your case to trial
We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us a percentage of the settlement or verdict amount we obtain only if and when we win your case.