The Likelihood of Developing PTSD After a Car Accident
12/8/2020 Car Accidents John Whitfield
Being the victim of a car crash can be a scary, stressful, and life-altering experience. You may suffer minor or significant physical injuries the moment the accident happened, but that may not be the only accident-related suffering you will experience. Victims of serious motor vehicle accidents have an increased risk of developing lingering psychological problems including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although not all car accident victims will develop PTSD, the risk is very real and can significantly change how you live your life. According to a collaborative study that assessed motor vehicle accident survivors, the appearance of PTSD within 30 days of a car accident happened in 25-33% of cases.
Survivors of car accidents may be hesitant to reach out and seek help for the psychological damage done since their emotional injuries are not able to be physically seen. PTSD and other psychological trauma are real and can be just as painful as a concussion or breaking a bone. Seeking a reliable health care professional to help manage your psychological pain is essential in recovering. The personal injury attorneys at Whitfield Bryson LLP can help you seek fair compensation for your physical, as well as emotional, injuries suffered as the victim of a Nashville car accident.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person has experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is completely natural after such an event to feel afraid or nervous. The human body’s “fight or flight” response is usually triggered during a car accident to help protect it from harm. After the psychological response has calmed, the heightened awareness, anxiousness, and fear typically dissipate. However, some car accident victims will continue to suffer from waves of anxiety and fear, which can be debilitating, even when they are not in danger. PTSD can develop hours, days, or weeks after a car accident and can last for years.
PTSD takes many shapes and forms and can present as more than just feeling scared, stressed, or depressed. It can alter the way a person lives their life by preventing them from doing simple tasks. A person suffering from PTSD after a car accident may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Flashback – mentally experiencing the car accident
- Negative, intrusive thoughts about the car accident
- Nightmares about the accident
- Overwhelming fear of driving / refusing to get in the car
- Not wanting to drive near where the accident occurred
- Distant to others
- Easily startled
- Panic attacks
- Digestive issues that were not present before the accident
- Suicidal thoughts
Re-experiencing scared, anxious feelings may cause problems in a person’s life. Places, sounds, or situations that are reminders of the car accident can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms. Things that remind a person of the car accident can also trigger avoidance symptoms. Avoidance symptoms may cause a person to change their daily routine. After a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car. If that person is able to drive, they may want to avoid where the car accident took place as much as possible – even if it means driving out of the way or adding time to their commute.
After a traumatic event, there are some methods that can promote recovery and help avoid PTSD. These include:
- Seeking support from friends and family members after the accident.
- Finding a car crash victim support group to help discuss what happened.
- Finding confidence in everyday tasks and routines.
- Mediation and mindfulness practice to help see the positive in bad events.
- Seeking help from a medical professional such as a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
PTSD can be treated using psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Each car accident victim is different and will respond differently to treatment. It is important to find a mental health provider who is experienced in PTSD to provide the best care possible when recovering from a car accident.
Nashville Car Accident Lawyers
Motor vehicle crashes can be complex events that come with an array of emotions and issues. Luckily, Nashville car accident victims can call upon the guidance of Whitfield Bryson LLP to support them throughout the claims process. Our personal injury lawyers are well versed in Tennessee law and regularly litigate cases in Nashville courts. This allows us to provide clients with high-level knowledge on all areas of each case and what to expect, which can reduce stress during difficult times. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a car accident, contact Whitfield Bryson LLP today to discuss your case. Remember, you only have one year following the date of your accident to take action, so don’t delay.