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Question
Posted by: Natasha | 2007/08/06

Husband had an accident

Hello
My husband had a car accident last Wednesday night. He rolled his bakkie but luckily he and his passenger were ok. They got cuts, bruises and bumps but otherwise fine. The bakkie is a right-off.
My husband is a very self confident and assertive person. He has been very quiet since the accident and has been talking even less than usual. I realise that he will take a bit of time to get over it.
But now (since Saturday) he has started having what I am calling panic attacks. He told me that he doesn't know what is triggering it, but he will suddenly start feeling claustrophobic and has to get away from where he is and the people arround him. On Saturday we were at the shops and he suddenly became very quiet and then said to me that we have to go now !! I had a full trolley in the middle of the shop so I gave him my car keys, and he went and sat in the car for about 45 mins. I gave him some rescue tablets which seemed to calm him down a bit.
I was just wondering if this could be a subconscious side effect of the accident, and if it is how long should it last ?
What should I do, as he is normally a quiet aggressive person (not physically aggressive, but more personallity wise) but now is being very subdued and quite sweet actually !!
I have suggested that he go back to the doctor and speak to him about it, but he doesn't have time to go to the doctor with catching up on the work that has fallen behind since he had the accident. He runs his own business and is a work-a-holic.
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

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Our expert says:
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Sounds like he is developing panic attacks or severe anxiety like claustrophobia, which can happen after such an accident. Its not subconscious, but an effect of the enormous psychological shock he experienced. Usually such effects clear up in the first couple of weeks , but if they don't, or if they seem to be getting worse, he should inded see a good local shrink for a proper asse4ssment and a discussion of treatment options, which may include medication and CBT counselling. Yes, this would take up some of his time --- but he must just think of how much more time would be watsed off-work if these attacks continued or worsened.

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