If normal frightened emotions after a car accident don’t subside and become overwhelming, it may indicate a more serious problem. If the fear won’t go away, or you feel like you cannot move past the trauma, it may be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Car accidents and other traumatic events can lead to this condition. If it’s affecting you, seek help from a mental health professional right away.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a traumatic event; usually one over which you feel you have no control. PTSD can result from any type of catastrophic event or highly stressful situation that the victim feels was unpredictable and emotionally devastating.
It may occur after events such as:
- Childhood abuse
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Death of a loved one
- Suffering a catastrophic injury
- Natural disasters
The Prevalence of PTSD among Car Accident Victims
Car accidents are one of the most common types of events that can trigger PTSD. Georgia State University researchers reported in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology that motor vehicle accidents (MVA) were among the leading causes of PTSD and that crashes present “the most adverse combination of frequency and impact [of PTSD].”
Between 25 and 33 percent of car accident victims experience motor vehicle-related PTSD, according to a study published in 2007 in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. The article authors spoke clearly about the prevalence and nationwide impact of the disorder, stating that data “leads to a conservative estimate that MVA-related PTSD may affect 2.5 to 7 million people in the United States, reflecting a significant public health problem.”
Recognizing the Signs of PTSD after a Car Accident
There are several key indicators that PTSD may be developing, if you:
- Find yourself reliving the event
- Are avoiding any reminders of the trauma
- Are experiencing acute anxiety, seek out help from a mental health professional
Victims often experience the disorder in unique ways; it doesn’t necessarily affect everyone in the same manner.
Some of the symptoms common amongst PTSD sufferers:
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Physical response when reminded of the crash
- Fear of riding or driving a car
- Feelings of detachments
- Disinterest in activities
- Sleep disturbances
- Angry outbursts
- Excessive shame or guilt
- Substance abuse as a coping mechanism
- Suicidal thoughts
- Headaches and chronic pain
Lifelong Implications for PTSD Sufferers
PTSD can have adverse lifelong implications. It can affect a person’s ability to cope with life, perform at work, or take care of a family. It can affect your relationships with your peers and family members and cause your family residual emotional distress.
PSTD requires mental health intervention and a regular treatment program. If you or your family recently suffered injuries in a car accident and you suspect PTSD, make an appointment with a professional for an assessment. With proper treatment, patients may learn to deal with and overcome the condition.
Factoring PTSD into Your Car Accident Claim
You may not be aware but emotional pain and suffering is compensable in a car accident negligence claim. You may also seek damages related to treatment and care for your PTSD and other damages related to the condition. To learn about how to factor your PSTD into your car accident claim, contact Hensley Legal Group in Indiana. Call us today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation at (317) 472-3333.