Many drivers deal with mental health issues on the road all the time. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), company drivers need to take steps to ensure they’re coping effectively. Truck driver mental health is extremely important for their career, but also for their general well-being and private life.
In today’s article, we will deal with the most common mental problems that truckers face.
What Are Most Common Mental Health Issues that Truck Drivers Experience?
Truck drivers experience a lot of stress and pressure on the road. They’re away from their families, often working long hours, and are exposed to many different situations that can be difficult for them to manage.
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There are several common mental health issues that truck drivers experience.
Depression is a common mental health problem that affects many people, including truck drivers. It’s important for truckers to be aware of the symptoms of depression and seek treatment if necessary.
Depression can take many forms. Some people experience sadness and despair for weeks or months at a time; others may experience chronic feelings of worthlessness, helplessness or hopelessness, or a loss of interest in things they once found pleasurable.
It is important to know that depression is a condition that can be stopped with the help of certain methods and with increased self-care.
Burnout is a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion caused by chronic stress. It can have serious consequences for your health and well-being, as well as your relationships with friends and family members.
You need to recognize warnings in time, such as poor memory, general truck driver health issues (frequent headaches, back pain, vision problems), loss of motivation for work, as well as neglecting self-care.
Truck drivers are often alone on the road. They face long stretches without any human interaction, and their family and friends are far away. Lonely truck drivers often think about what is happening at home and lose focus. This can be particularly difficult for those who have partners or spouses who don’t understand or support their career choice. In this case, it is very important to build a clear goal that will motivate you to move forward. You can become an owner operator when you decide to, which will give you much more financial freedom and time.
Lonely truckers just need to know what they are fighting for and how they see themselves in the future!
Tiredness is one of the biggest enemies of truck drivers. It’s important for truck drivers to maintain their energy levels so that they can drive safely and avoid being involved in an accident. Truck drivers should drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals when they are on the road. They should also get plenty of sleep before driving so that they are well rested. If possible, truck drivers should take breaks during long drives so that they can rest.
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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that is often diagnosed in the winter months. It’s caused by reduced exposure to sunlight, which can lead to low levels of serotonin in the brain. To combat this, truck drivers should make sure they have a lot of natural light in their cabs. They should also keep a calendar or journal of when they feel they need to take breaks from driving. This will help them avoid becoming too tired or depressed from the lack of sunlight and daylight hours.
Truck drivers should also exercise regularly. They should also eat healthy foods and get plenty of sleep at night so that their body is ready for the next day on the road!
Sleep disorders are common among truck drivers, with up to 80% reporting at least one sleep disorder. This is partly because the nature of their jobs requires them to sleep irregularly — sometimes during the day and sometimes at night. Keep track of how much sleep you get each night so that you know when it’s time to stop driving truck at night and get some rest.
Anxiety is one of the most common truck driver mental health conditions. Many factors contribute to anxiety-related issues among truckers such as stress related to their work environment, financial issues, family concerns, and social isolation.
It can affect your mood and behavior and lead to a range of problems if left untreated. The most effective treatment for anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches you how to change the way you think about things so that you feel less anxious overall. CBT can be done by yourself with self-help books or online courses, or with the help of a therapist who will guide you through it.
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What Can Drivers Do About It?
The good news is that there are ways to address these issues before they become serious problems. Truck driver mental health can be improved if the right steps are taken.
Here’s what experts say truck drivers should do if they think they’re experiencing depression or any other mental health issue:
Stay in Touch with Loved Ones
Being away from home is tough on anyone, but if you’re a truck driver who runs across the country or even internationally, it can make things even harder. You may only be able to call home once or twice per week because of cell phone reception issues and other concerns that come with being on the road. But staying connected with friends and family is essential to maintaining your mental health while driving a truck.
Figure Out on Time What Is Going On
A lot of things can go wrong when you’re driving: traffic jams, accidents, mechanical problems and more. If you’re stressed out about all these possibilities, try to focus on what’s happening right now in your present situation instead of what might happen later down the road.
It is important to identify what is causing the stress so that you can address it and make changes if necessary. One way that you can do this is by writing down a list of everything that bothers you about your job or life as a driver. Once you have identified all of these things, ask yourself why each one bothers you. This will help you figure out what needs to be changed in order for you to feel better about your job as a trucker and life overall.
Look For A Way to Relax
Meditation can help you relax. Mindfulness meditation helps you focus on the present moment instead of letting thoughts spiral out of control into negative spirals that make you feel stressed or anxious. This technique can be particularly helpful if you tend to ruminate about unimportant things like whether other drivers are being unsafe around you or what happened yesterday or last week.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of accidents among truck drivers. This is because it makes it harder to concentrate on the road, which increases your risk of having an accident. If you’re feeling tired while driving, pull over and take a nap until you feel better.
Keep track of how much sleep you get each night so that you know when it’s time to stop driving for the day and get some rest. Sleep has the power to reduce stress on the road.
Of course, getting enough sleep isn’t always possible when you have lots of miles to cover each day but try to find some time during the day when you can rest for at least an hour or two before heading out again. You could also take turns driving with another driver so that one person gets some much-needed shut-eye while the other takes over behind the wheel for a while.
Ask for Professional Help
If you’re experiencing bad truck driver mental health, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you feel like your situation is getting out of control, consider seeking professional counseling from a licensed therapist or psychologist. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication if necessary and provide counseling services to help you cope with any stressors in your life.
How Can Employers Help?
Truck driver mental health is just as important as physical health.
In addition to providing education about mental health to employees, employers should offer support when it is needed most – during times of transition or change in life circumstances. This can include offering counseling services or treatment options for employees who may have difficulty accessing these services through other means (e.g., lack of insurance coverage). Employers might also consider offering resources such as telehealth services or online support groups for their employees who live far from an accessible counselor or psychiatrist.
Also, it’s important to talk to your employer about what schedule works best for you, especially if you notice that you’re not concentrating enough. If you’re driving a truck for long periods of time, it’s important that you don’t get stuck in a rut. If you’ve been driving for days on end with no break, then it’s time for a change of pace. This can help keep your mind sharp and focused on the task at hand instead of getting bogged down from driving one place over and over again.
Finally, it is important to note:
Keep some kind of goals in mind to distract yourself from daily stressors and the occurrence of truck driver health problems. Don’t indulge too much in negative thoughts or kinds of humor—feelings of depression and hopelessness can take hold if you aren’t careful. Consider also that social contact is crucial; try and get to know other drivers for mutual support. Basically, practice healthy habits and self-care as much as you can, both for mental and physical health.
For more insights into the trucking world, follow us on our YouTube channel Extra Mile International Inc Trucking Company, and visit our Instagram profile @extramiletx.
Mia is a Fleet Manager and Recruiter at Extra Mile International, based in Chicago. Mia is over 5 years in the trucking industry while driving trucks for more than 3 years.