Fear and anxiety are common after a serious car accident. But if the anxiety doesn’t fade or grows worse, or if you find yourself reliving the accident, you may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a traumatic event, usually one that feels uncontrollable and is emotionally devastating to the victim. PTSD can result from any type of catastrophic or highly stressful situation, such as natural disasters, war, childhood abuse, assault, and car accidents.
Only a small percentage of adults, about 3.5 percent, are affected by PTSD during their lifetime. However, according to a study by National Institute of Mental Health, about 39 percent of people develop PTSD after a car accident.
PTSD doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Common PTSD symptoms include:
- Flashbacks, nightmares, and hallucinations relating to the accident
- Depression and anxiety
- Irritability and extreme mood swings
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of interest in things that used to be enjoyable
- Deliberate avoidance of people or places that remind you of the accident
- Chronic signs of physical stress like increased heart rate or blood pressure, hypervigilance, nausea, difficulty concentrating, or blackouts
PTSD symptoms can interfere with your daily life and negatively affect your work routine and your relationships with family and friends. If you suspect that you may have developed PTSD after a car accident, it is important to see a professional for an assessment so you can begin treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment for PTSD
PTSD can have lifelong implications and requires a regular treatment program. The goal of PTSD treatment is to minimize the impact your symptoms have on your everyday life.
Types of psychotherapy that have been used to treat PTSD successfully include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – talk therapy that helps change the thought patterns that prevents you from moving past your anxiety
- Exposure therapy – you confront your memories about the car accident in order to learn how to cope with them
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – a combination of exposure therapy and eye movements to help you process and cope with traumatic memories of the accident
Prescription drugs such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication can also help victims cope with PTSD after a traumatic accident.
There is no single best way to treat PTSD. Part of the therapeutic process is finding the combination of counseling and medication that addresses your specific needs. What works best for you might not yield the same results for another person.
Can I Receive Compensation for PTSD after a Car Accident?
Managing your PTSD won’t happen overnight. That’s why it is important to seek treatment for PTSD after a car accident as soon as you recognize the symptoms.
But treatment is expensive, so much so that the cost may deter you from getting the medical and psychological services that you need. Plus, PTSD may make it hard to work your job, resulting in lost wages on top of the expense of treatment and any property damage not covered by your insurance policy.
You shouldn’t have to pay medical expenses if they were made necessary by another person’s negligence. If a negligent driver caused your car accident, you can file a personal injury claim through their insurance. Your personal injury settlement should be enough to cover damages related to your PTSD, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Your anxiety or depression after a car accident are damages that can be taken into consideration when you file a personal injury claim. If a negligent driver caused your car accident, then you do have options for financial compensation.
You don’t have to go through this alone. An experienced personal injury attorney can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that can come with filing a claim. Please give us a call or contact us online for a free conversation about your personal injury claim.