Post Traumatic Stress After a Car Crash

Post Traumatic Stress After a Car Crash

If you are involved in a severe car accident, you may experience a broad range of emotions immediately following the crash and even for a few days after. These emotions might be fleeting, or they may settle over you for a while –

  • Guilt
  • Feeling scared or uneasy
  • Worry and Nervousness
  • Shock
  • Anger

You might keep going over the accident, thinking about it all the time, but at the same time have trouble believing it really happened. Take some comfort in knowing these are all normal, common reactions. But if these reactions don’t begin to diminish in the days following the crash, or if they become so strong that you are having trouble “getting back” to your normal life, you may be suffering from traumatic stress.

PTSD After an Accident

It may be surprising to learn that of the three million people who will be injured in motor vehicle accidents this year, about half are at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For most, the reactions that follow the accident will dissipate in time, but for about 1 percent of those who are in serious accidents, the reactions continue, changing the way they think or act.

If you are experiencing post-traumatic stress, you may –

  • Feel uneasy for reasons that you can’t identify
  • Refuse to see a doctor or have medical tests or procedures
  • Over-react to simple issues and feel too worried or angry to deal with them
  • Have difficulty sleeping or suffer nightmares
  • Feel unconnected to the people, places, and events surrounding you
  • Relive the accident in your mind repeatedly

Accident Severity May Increase Risk of PTSD

Not everyone who is involved in crashes will develop PTSD, but some factors may increase your risk of traumatic stress including how severe the accident, and:

  • Someone was killed or severely injured in wreck
  • The event felt life-threatening
  • You have flashbacks immediately after the crash
  • It’s difficult for you to drive or travel after the accident
  • You’ve had traumatic experiences before
  • You have a history of psychiatric disorder
  • You are involved in ongoing litigation

Treatment for Motor Vehicle Accident – related PTSD

Several different approaches have been effective at treating motor vehicle accident-related PTSD, including –

  • Behavior therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Medications
  • Chronic pain therapy

However, the diagnosis for motor vehicle accident-related PTSD is often delayed because a crash victim will seek medical treatment for their injuries and pain, but may not even consider seeking psychological therapies. Unfortunately, studies have shown that people who suffer PTSD and don’t seek treatment continue to suffer symptoms for more than 12 months.

Call us today to learn if the at-fault driver in your accident could be held liable for your injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses, including expenses for PTSD treatments.

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