Post-traumatic Stress After an Accident, How to Take Care?

I remembered that in the same year, I had involved in two small car accidents. Thankfully, everything is fine except my car.

Although without any major injuries and no indication for hitting my head. I find that my body has some effects result from the car accident, emotionally and physically affected. My neck muscle pulling me makes me discomfort results from the seat belt, body trembling just after the accident, nausea, tired and without energy, fear and mild shock for several days. You will really feel insecure because you can feel that accident can happen anytime, anywhere.

My body undergone stress and my sympathetic nervous system prepare me in fight-or-flight mode to response to those stresses. This response prepares my body to either fight or flee from threat in order for survival. You will not be surprised reading newspaper pertaining to a mum lifting up a car to save her beloved daughter during emergency.

What Happen in Fight-or-Flight Mode?

Adrenaline (epinephrine) is released by adrenal glands and enters our bloodstream, it increased our heart rate and force contraction, blood pressure ups, breathing speeds up, blood will diverts to skeletal muscles and brain, glucose released from the liver, pupils dilate and allowing more light for us to see clearly.

Under the influences of stress, up to three hundred times the amount of adrenaline can be found in the blood compared to the normal resting stage. When the threat passes, adrenaline levels fall, our liver will work to takes the adrenaline out of the bloodstream.

If the brain perceived dangerous situation remain, the hypothalamus will release corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and trigger pituitary to release corticotrophin hormone (ACTH). This hormone enters bloodstream, travels to adrenal glands and tells it to release cortisol. When the event perceived as stress is over, cortisol levels fall. Parasympathetic nervous system will prepare you back to the “rest and relaxation” mode.

This is why my body feels exhausted after the car accident. Our liver needs to works hard to metabolize these toxic (stress hormones) out from our body. Imagine, what happen if a person is always expose to stress and pressure, the body will not be able to restore and heal itself.

The following is my own experience on using the essential oils for this case:

Treatment for Emotional Shock and Fear
Sweet Marjoram 2 drops
Bergamot 2 drops
Grape Seed oil 15ml

I blend it in massage oil and massage my neck and front area where I suffered from muscle tension from the seat belt effect. Avoid sweet marjoram if you have low blood pressure.

Treatment for Nausea
Peppermint 2 drops
Bergamot/ grapefruit 2 drops

You can also prepare a bowl of steaming water and add the essential oils as mentioned above. Place a towel to cover your head and the bow. Keep your eyes close and inhaled the vapours for ten minutes. Avoid this method if you have asthma problem. You can put it in the necklace diffuser or direct inhalation by putting the essential oil on a tissue or handkerchief.

Precaution
Bergamot is phototoxic; avoid exposure to sun after using the oils.

Reference

Pip Waller, 2010, Holistic Anatomy: An Integrative Guide to the Human Body

Harvard Health Publications, 2011, “Understanding the Stress Response”, Harvard Medical School

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