Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Bicycle Accident

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Bicycle Accident

Being in an accident can be extremely traumatic, especially one involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle. You may not be able to escape injury if side-swiped or if the auto or truck turns directly into your path of travel. Although wearing a helmet certainly minimizes your risk of sustaining a serious head or facial injury, you still have that risk as well as injuring other parts of your body that have little or no protection. One of the other injuries many people involved in serious accidents sustain is extreme emotional trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD refers to difficulties a person experiences following a traumatic event whereby they may have problems with managing daily living activities because of extreme anxiety. The condition is characterized as:

1Having recurring memories of the event.
You may re-experience the terror or memory of the event or have recurring dreams. The sound of a car starting up or just seeing a bicycle in traffic may stir up memories of your accident.
2Avoiding activities or situations.
To avoid anxiety or memories of the event, you refuse to discuss it. You may avoid riding a bicycle again, going to areas similar to where the accident happened or getting close to a bike rider if you are driving.
You may be prone to sudden outbursts over trivial things or have problems concentrating or sleeping or maintaining relationships with friends or family.

Experiencing a traumatic event is experienced by 70 percent of all adults in this country with about 20- to 40 percent developing PTSD. Car accidents are the main triggering event for PTSD with up to 40 percent experiencing mild to severe forms. Severe PTSD may include hallucinations, paranoia, and thoughts of suicide. There is no way of knowing if anyone with any particular traits or background will develop this condition although you may be more prone if you already have an anxiety disorder or were suffering from depression.

Because symptoms may not manifest for weeks or even months after an accident, many sufferers are not compensated for it if they settle too quickly. Also, defense insurers are often skeptical and will demand definitive proof from a medical professional, usually a psychiatrist.

PTSD is only diagnosed in those persons who were involved in the event or accident and not those who merely witnessed it or saw it on television. If you find that in the weeks or months following an accident that you are experiencing difficulties in relationships, avoiding activities or becoming so anxious that you are having difficulties engaging in normal daily living activities or your job, then you need to seek professional help. Treatment is varied with many sufferers taking anxiety medications and/or seeking therapy to discuss and confront the event and the behaviors they have been experiencing. If you have an injury claim, you are entitled to compensation for the mental anguish you suffered.

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