Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Motorcycle Crash

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Motorcycle Crash

Physical injuries from a motorcycle can be serious. These commonly include fractured limbs, ribs or pelvis, road burns, scars, facial fractures, head injuries and internal injuries. One type of injury that can be just as traumatic as any physical injury is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Because of its psychological nature, many people, including insurers and defense attorneys, are skeptical if this type of injury is claimed by an accident victim absent compelling evidence.

PTSD is usually associated with soldiers who experienced stress in times of combat or with victims of sexual assault. Any severe and frightening experience, however, can also lead to this condition.

As indicated, PTSD is usually triggered by a particularly emotional or disturbing event. A motorcycle accident would certainly qualify depending on the nature of the accident, especially if you saw the impending accident unfolding before you and were thrown from your bike. If you witnessed your passenger or operator suffer a gruesome injury, then this may also qualify as a disturbing event that could trigger symptoms of PTSD.

A diagnosis of PTSD is made by a medical professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. The event in question must have placed you at risk of death or serious injury, and it must have occurred in person and not on television, movies or other media.

It is not unusual to experience a traumatic event. Studies show that about 60% of men and 50% of women experience such events at least once in their lifetimes. About 20% of women and 8% of men develop PTSD. Women are more at risk since they are more likely to experience a sexual assault. Rape is the main incident for developing PTSD than any other traumatic event. Of course, the more traumatic the event, the greater the likelihood of your suffering symptoms of PTSD.

Symptoms of the condition include:

  • Flashbacks – this is reliving the event or the horror repeatedly or experiencing it from such triggers as a loud noise or the sight or sound of a motorcycle in this case. The images of the trauma will not go away, and you may replay the accident repeatedly in your mind.
  • Emotional detachment – because your emotions are overwhelmed, you avoid relationships or engaging in activities that may remind you of the incident. This can cause dysfunction in social situations, marriages or problems in child raising.
  • Hyper startle reflex – the sound of a motorcycle might cause you to overreact. You may constantly be on the lookout for dangers. Falling or staying asleep can be problematic.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, psychotherapy can be effective in dealing with the thoughts and emotions associated with this condition. Exposure therapy or reliving the events with the assistance of a trained therapist can also be helpful. Medications such as Zoloft or Paxil have been approved for use in conjunction with counseling.

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