Psychological disorders continue to take their toll in subsequent years

The psychological problems that a family faces and the pain it feels after one of its members has been killed or crippled in a road accident are severe and persist even years after the initial shock has subsided. – 72 percent of victims’ relatives lose their interest in everyday activities such as working and reading and face sexual problems for up to three years after the accident. – 37 percent of relatives consider committing suicide, while 78 percent develop a feeling of anger and 71 percent feel vengeful. – 27 percent exhibit phobias and 35 percent eating disorders. Also the ability to enjoy life declines dramatically, in some cases by up to 90 percent. – 50 percent take more anti-depressants and drink more alcohol, while 70 percent of relatives exhibit difficulties with driving. – 49 percent lose their self-esteem and 46 percent suffer depression. These figures are from a survey by the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims, in which 1,364 families with deceased or seriously injured victims of a car accident in nine European Union countries took part. «Our experience with such families has shown that they cannot overcome the tragedy. A severe injury, even a long period of hospitalization, marks the life of both the victim and his or her family,» says Vassilis Theodorou, an orthopedic doctor and president of the Hellenic Association for Road Traffic Victim Support. Psychiatrist Charalambos Katoglou says the most common psychological problems suffered by victims and their families include anxiety as well as eating, sleeping and other disorders. «The best treatment is to learn how to reduce stress rather than take anti-depressants, especially when they are not administered by a psychiatrist,» explains Katoglou.

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