Car accidents cause financial strains, damages to property, and physical injuries. They cause victims to feel anger, fear, and shock, which are normal responses to such an ordeal. For others, car crashes lead to the development of a mental disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. About 10 percent of car accident victims suffer from it.
PTSD is a stress and trauma-related disorder that may develop after being exposed to an event or ordeal wherein there was a threat or occurrence of death, serious physical injury and harm, or violence. These traumatic events may include natural calamities, personal assaults, military combat, or accidents.
There are risk factors that contribute or increase the likelihood of developing PTSD after a car crash. Here are some of them:
- History of psychological disorders in the family
- Losing someone in the accident
- Having had psychological problems before the accident
- Having had a traumatic experience prior to the accident
- Lack of support received after the accident
After a car crash, it is important to look out for PTSD symptoms. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Feeling on edge while driving – being startled easily or jumpy while inside the vehicle
- Avoiding situations such as driving on a highway
- Feelings of anxiety and increased heart rate when reminded of the event; reminders may include a car horn or brakes screeching
- Nightmares and troubles sleeping
- Feeling disconnected from other people
- Drastic change in mood and disposition, signs of depression and anxiety
If you find yourself experiencing some of the symptoms above, do not ignore or dismiss the possibility that you may be suffering from PTSD. Know that there are things that you can do about it and that help is within reach. You can try these ways to cope with your feelings after the accident:
Talk it out. Whether it is with a friend, a relative, or a counselor, a conversation about what happened can help you process your experience.
Talk to your doctor. It would help if you have a professional monitoring your recovery and health after the accident. Your doctor can also point you to the direction of other practitioners should you need to consult with specialists.
Be active. Exercise can also help you release happy hormones that can help you deal with the unpleasant feelings and memories after the accident. Do this as long as you are not physically injured and you have your doctor’s sign-off.
Get back to your routine. Part of healing is being scared of going back to your daily activities; however, it may help you recover if you do so.
Get help. If your symptoms persist and become serious, contact a mental health professional. Remember that PTSD is a real and serious condition, and not a sign of weakness; there is no shame in seeking help for it.
Seek legal counsel. If the accident is caused by the negligence of another driver, you need an attorney by your side as you take legal action.
Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.
None of the content on Hoganinjury.com is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.