The 1 thing no one discusses about near-misses

We don’t need to explain the phenomenon of near-misses.

They happen far, far too often on our roads.

We often hear stories of people too afraid to get back on the bike after a near miss.  

So much so we decided to ask for some expert advice on the matter.

Brisbane Psychologist Romana Bowd has put together a quick article on the mental impact near misses can have on cyclists.

Discover how to identify psychological trauma and what your next steps should be.

How is mental trauma related to near misses?

As a driver of a car, bike rider or even pedestrian we can be involved in a significant accident that can leave not only physical injuries but also psychological injuries.

However we can suffer psychological injuries due to a ‘near miss’ or even witnessing an accident. These injuries can leave emotional scars that are as traumatic as physical ones.

We refer to these emotional problems as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if a person’s emotional state remains unstable many days or months past the original incident.

What is PTSD?

A person is diagnosed with PTSD if there are any emotional or environmental triggers that can bring back memories of the trauma accompanied by intense emotional and physical reactions.

Symptoms may include nightmares or flashbacks, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli, anxiety or depressed mood.

It also can include:

  • hyperalertness (exaggerated startle response),
  • sleep disturbance,
  • guilt related to the incident,
  • trouble concentrating,
  • avoidance of activities that replicate the incident in any way
  • avoidance of activities that previously were enjoyable; and 
  • worsening symptoms by exposure to events resembling the original incident.

Does PTSD affect everyone?

Often people do not consider themselves to be suffering from PTSD because it is often associated and most commonly reported in war veterans and just witnessing an accident or being involved in a ‘road accident’ is under-estimated by most of us as not serious enough to seek help.

However, health professionals consider that anyone subjected to severe or sudden stress needs to be treated seriously just as if they had a physical injury.

PTSD can occur in anyone of any age, gender, culture and socioeconomic background.

What should you do if you are suffering?

If you are suffering  from symptoms, then it is recommended that you go and see your GP.

Your GP and you can assess whether it would be helpful to see a psychologist, psychiatrist and/or start medication.

If PTSD is severe it does not just ‘go away’ often our brain cannot erase the memories of the incident and it is very important to seek help.

Thanks Romana

Romana is a qualified psychologist based in Brisbane. For any questions relating to this blog post, psychological trauma or other related issues, please contact Romana using the details provided below.

Dr Romana Bowd PhD, BSc(AppPsych), BSc(Hons), MAPS, CHP, Assoc. CCounsP

Taringa 7 Day Medical Centre

Phone: 3830 5999

Email: [email protected]

If you need immediate help, please contact emergency services on 000 or LifeLine on 13 11  14