Are You Suffering from PTSD After a Car Accident?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe mental illness that can impact how you live your life. You may be suffering from this condition after the trauma of a car accident, but you will need to get a formal diagnosis from a qualified medical professional to be sure.
If you have PTSD symptoms after a motor vehicle collision, medical professionals can help you receive treatment, and legal experts can help you secure compensation from the party responsible for your trauma.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD occurs in people who experience or witness traumatic events.
These types of events can include:
- Terrorist or violent attacks
- Rape or sexual violence
- Serious vehicle accidents
- Natural disasters
- Work accidents
While post-traumatic stress disorder most commonly affects combat veterans, it can occur to anyone who endures a significantly distressful situation. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD is common in adults, and 7% to 8% of the American population will suffer from the disorder at some point in their life.
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Symptoms of PTSD After a Motor Vehicle Accident
PTSD is one of the most common injuries in a car accident, and symptoms vary from person to person.
But the most common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include:
- General feelings of uneasiness or anxiety
- Irritability and mood swings
- Excessive worry or aggression
- Insomnia or night terrors
- Feeling a loss of connection with others
There are specific PTSD symptoms that are common for motor vehicle accident victims to experience, and it’s essential to differentiate normal feelings of sadness and guilt from PTSD.
1. Vivid Car Accident Nightmares and Flashbacks
PTSD can cause extremely vivid nightmares or flashbacks that make a person feel as if they are back at the crash scene. During the nightmares, a person may shake, shout, or struggle to breathe. The vivid imagery and physical effects take a toll on an individual’s mental health, create physical problems due to the lack of sleep, and cause a person to fear going to sleep.
A PTSD flashback can feel like a nightmare in the waking world. During the flashback, a person is forced to relive their trauma. Anything that reminds the person of the vehicle collision can trigger a flashback, such as seeing a similar car or driving past the collision scene.
PTSD can cause accident victims to avoid anything that reminds them of the crash. The avoidance can be intentional or subconscious, and it can cause severe disruptions to their lifestyle. For example, victims may avoid friends involved in the accident, take detours to avoid driving past the accident scene, or, in extreme scenarios, stop riding in cars altogether.
3. High Irritability
Post-traumatic stress disorder can cause people to feel irritated, frustrated, and agitated. They may have less patience or tolerance than usual, and they may feel bothered in situations that once felt comfortable.
4. Excessive Guilt for the Car Accident
After a vehicle collision, PTSD can cause a person to wonder if they could have prevented the crash. Even if the person did not cause the accident, they may wonder what would have happened if they took a different route or drove slightly slower. If their errors caused another person’s injuries, then the person may suffer extreme guilt that makes it difficult for them to function.
PTSD can trigger other mental ailments, including major depressive disorder. Depression can cause a person to lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and experience feelings of numbness and loss of control.
Treating Car Accident PTSD
The best way to ensure your mental health is not impaired after a vehicle collision is by visiting a medical professional. Healthcare workers and mental health counselors can diagnose PTSD and help you seek appropriate treatment.
After suffering from PTSD, therapy aims to ease your symptoms, teach you skills to deal with the trauma, and restore self-esteem. Most PTSD therapies include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT is a form of psychological treatment that helps people change how they behave by eliminating unhealthy thought patterns. For example, CBT treatments help PTSD patients face their fears instead of avoiding them.
Post-traumatic stress disorder medications work to balance neurotransmitters in the brain to change how they react to PTSD triggers to prevent anxiety attacks, flashbacks, and nightmares.
Most of the medications target serotonin or norepinephrine (SSRIs and SNRIs). Some of the most common PTSD medications include:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Antipsychotics or second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs)
PTSD medications won’t necessarily eliminate a person’s symptoms, but they can make them less intense and more manageable. The medicines can stop PTSD symptoms from preventing you from getting through daily activities.
Can I Recover Damages If a Car Accident Caused PTSD?
If you have PTSD from a motor vehicle collision that was the fault of another, you may be able to pursue damages against the party responsible for your trauma. But since PTSD affects your mental and emotional health, it can be challenging to obtain compensatory damages for your injury.
When pursuing a personal injury claim, you must demonstrate that the motor vehicle accident contributed to or caused your mental trauma. This can be very difficult to prove, but a skilled car accident lawyer can help. Once a legal professional proves this, they can help you secure fair and reasonable compensation for any losses your PTSD caused.
Personal Injury Lawyers Hold Parties Liable for Emotional Trauma
If you are suffering PTSD after a vehicle accident that was the fault of another, a personal injury lawyer from our firm may be able to help you collect financial compensation for your injuries. We have been fighting for the rights of injury victims just like you since 1988. Even if you are not sure whether you have a strong claim, call Dansker & Aspromonte Associates LLP today for a free consultation. Your time to file a claim after an accident is limited however. Don’t delay.
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