A DUI arrest and looming conviction can weigh heavy on most people. After all, a DUI arrest can be a first for many, especially young adults. Since most first-time DUI offenders have no prior criminal history, the mere thought of the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction is enough to cause sleepless nights and endless anxiety.
Simply put, a DUI conviction can take a dramatic toll on your mental and emotional health. This is not surprising as a DUI conviction can affect almost every aspect of your life—personal, financial, emotional, relationships, work, etc. Undeniably, it’s hard not to get all anxious when your life, freedom, and future are on the line.
DUI Arrest and Conviction: How It Can Affect You Psychologically
Some of the most common psychological effects of a DUI conviction and arrest include:
A DUI arrest (and a looming conviction) can be very stressful. If you are like most people, you constantly stress how things will go and what you need to deal with down the road. What makes it even tricky is you have to continue to live your life even when you are under massive stress.
In other words, you have to work, meet deadlines, and pay the bills on top of taking care of your DUI case. Some people also imagine all the possible worst-case scenarios and the impact of the conviction in their life in general. This makes things harder and more overwhelming for them to handle.
Another unfortunate thing about DUI cases is they can cause depression. Loss of independence, financial loss, and too much stress can cause most people to feel down and depressed. Others may also experience self-loathing. Another indirect impact of a DUI conviction is loneliness.
If you have been convicted of DUI, you can go through a period of embarrassment and sadness. Some also go through periods where they isolate themselves and dwell on the mistakes they have made.
It is also common for DUI offenders to withdraw from family, friends, and co-workers because of shame. Not having anyone to talk to and share their concerns with can also make it extremely hard for those convicted to shake off their negative thoughts and start anew.
Loss of Independence
If you live far from where you work, it can be very inconvenient to get around using public transport. When your license is suspended, and your driving privileges are revoked, you’ll most likely feel like a part of your independence and freedom has been taken away from you.
Loss of freedom and independence can take a toll on many people’s mental health because it makes them feel like they are stuck and don’t even have the freedom to do even basic things like go to work and do errands. Eventually, being restricted can start to weigh them down.
Fortunately, in some instances, you can get a temporary permit to drive for “business purposes.” It is a driving privilege that’s given so one can maintain their livelihood, drive to and from work, and drive to church or for medical purposes.
Financial woes are another struggle DUI offenders have to deal with. It is also one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety among DUI offenders. Come to think of it, a DUI arrest can already cause a few thousand dollars in punitive fines, attorney fees, and court costs.
For many, dealing with financial woes is one thing that gives them the most stress and anxiety. The cost of DUI can range anywhere from $4,000 to $17,000. This means even if you have a job that pays well, the massive cost can still be financially debilitating. If you live paycheck to paycheck and just get by, a DUI conviction can be financially disastrous.
Different Ways to Cope
Fortunately, there are different ways one can cope with the psychological effects of a DUI conviction. For starters:
- Allow your family and friends to help you. Don’t push them away.
- Make it a point to stay physically healthy. Exercise can also help fight off anxiety and depression.
- Do your research and stay informed. Learning the DUI charge’s ins and outs can help reduce stress since you will have an idea what to expect and what to do.
- Stay away from alcohol. Alcohol is a natural depressant and can further enhance feelings of isolation, sadness, and despair. If you believe that you are powerless against your addiction, don’t shy away from getting professional help right away.
Coping with the psychological consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction can be difficult, but it can be done. Start small and take it from there. For instance, make sure you exercise and eat healthy, get support from loved ones and friends, and stay away from alcohol at all times. Also, don’t hesitate to get professional help when needed so you can deal with any psychological issues accordingly.