How a DUI / OVI can Affect Your Mental Health, and Some Helpful Coping Tips in Knox County & Richland County, Ohio
It should come as no surprise that a DUI conviction affects every aspect of your life. Not only could it drastically affect your driving record, but it can put a serious strain on your relationships with friends and family. It can also make it difficult to find or maintain a job, especially if your driver's license is suspended. Research has shown that all of this can have a serious effect on your mental health, which is why you need to find ways to cope when you're dealing with a DUI conviction.
Statistics show that most people who are convicted of a DUI are first-time offenders. In many cases, they've simply underestimated how much they've had to drink, and they've gotten behind the wheel of a car thinking they're perfectly fine to drive. Of course, that doesn't mean anything if they fail a sobriety test when the police pull them over. They still face the possibility of jail time, a suspended license, and serious fines, all of which can be very scary for someone who has never been charged with a DUI before. It can begin to take a toll on your mental health almost immediately, especially if your brain defaults to the worst-case scenario.
No matter how many times you've been caught drinking and driving, your finances will almost certainly take a big hit. You'll likely have to pay a fine, cover attorney fees, and lose out on wages if you face jail time and can't go to work. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck and often can't afford any unexpected expenses, this can be disastrous.
Loss of Independence
If your license is suspended due to a DUI conviction, you obviously won't be able to drive yourself anywhere. Depending on where you live and what you do for work, this might not be a big deal. On the other hand, our society is practically built around being able to drive wherever and whenever you want, and the loss of that kind of freedom can be devastating for some people. Commutes will almost certainly be longer when you rely on public transportation, and you'll likely have to rely on friends and family members for rides at least some of the time, which brings us to our next point.
Financial stress, a loss of independence, having to rely on others, and being convicted of a crime can all contribute to feelings of depression. On top of feeling like they made a grave mistake, many people convicted of a DUI feel like a burden on friends and family members who give them rides or who otherwise must deal with their mistake. There's still a huge stigma around alcoholism in general and driving while drunk, which causes feelings of shame even when you've only made a one-time mistake.
How to Cope
Coping with a DUI obviously means facing any legal consequences for your actions, but it also means dealing with the effects it can have on your mental health. First, don't push away your support system. You have friends and family members who will support you, whether that means helping you financially or encouraging you to stay sober. Second, stay informed of what a DUI conviction really means and how it can affect someone's life. Hiring a local and knowledgeable DUI/OVI attorney can really help advise you of how this can impact your life and what help there is to offer. There are plenty of resources in Knox County for anyone who needs them and looking them up might ease some of your anxiety. Finally, stay away from alcohol. That sounds like a given considering the circumstances, but it's still something to keep in mind. Alcohol is a depressant, and it can make feelings of depression and shame worse.
As always, if you feel like you have a problem with alcohol that could further impact your life, know that there is always help available. Knox County has several drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and they can give you the help you need to stay sober and avoid any future DUI charges. The team at Spaulding & Kitzler offer a free DUI/OVI consultation, so we invite you to contact us today.