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Dealing with PTSD After a Bad Car Crash

Apr 21st, 2022

If you find yourself suffering symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in the wake of a bad car accident, you’re not alone. Most of us associate PTSD with veterans returning home after facing the horrors of war. But PTSD can be triggered by any significant trauma, including car accidents. In fact, car crashes are the number one trigger of PTSD in the general population, and recent studies have suggested as many as 30 percent of car accident survivors experience PTSD symptoms within a month of the crash. Let’s talk about what PTSD is, why so many accident victims experience it, and what you can do about it.

What Is PTSD? 

Post-traumatic stress syndrome is a mental disorder that can develop after someone goes through a traumatic event–especially one in which they faced the possibility of death. We all have a natural “fight-or-flight” reflex when it comes to facing danger, but for people living with PTSD, that response seems to linger and recur. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, extreme anxiety, irritability, hypersensitivity to noises and other triggers, depression. The person may avoid places, people, and other stimuli that remind them of the traumatic event; they may have difficulty talking about their feelings. These symptoms are often severe enough to cause problems in relationships with friends and family members as well as at work or school. Left untreated, post-traumatic stress disorder may even result in self-destructive behaviors or suicidal thoughts.

Why Car Accidents Can Cause PTSD 

There are a few different ways a car accident can trigger PTSD. For one, the physical danger of the crash itself can be traumatic. Survivors often describe feeling helpless in the face of danger as their car careened out of control or was T-boned by another vehicle. Many people also report experiencing intense fear, panic, and shock in the aftermath of a crash. Another factor that can trigger PTSD is the trauma of witnessing the death or severe injury of other people in the accident. You can experience PTSD after an accident even you were not physically injured in the crash yourself.

Getting Help for PTSD 

It’s normal to struggle with feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression in the days and weeks following a traumatic event like a car crash. But with PTSD, these symptoms do not fade and may even intensify with time. PTSD usually develops within 1-3 months after a traumatic event and may not subside without treatment. If you experience these symptoms for more than a month, it may be time to see a mental health professional before symptoms worsen. In most cases, a combination of talk therapy and medication can help lessen the effects of PTSD.

If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to cover not only any injuries you sustained, but also to cover PTSD treatment and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Our team of personal injury attorneys can help you receive all compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us for a free initial consultation.