Every year millions of Americans are involved in car accidents, and over 50 million people worldwide experience trauma through road traffic accidents. Being involved in a car accident is traumatic, so understandably, car accidents are the most common cause of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Therefore, if you are involved in a collision, it is vital to recognize the signs of PTSD from a car accident and to know your legal rights if you suffer from this severe disorder. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys will explain the symptoms, treatment, and how long PTSD from a car accident could last.
What is PTSD?
When you hear the words PTSD, you might associate this disorder with war veterans, and although that is true, many people suffer trauma or PTSD from a multitude of things, one being car accidents.
PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced trauma and cause them to have difficulties adjusting to everyday life after experiencing an upsetting event. For example, while many people who experience a car accident or other trauma face temporary challenges but can get better with good self-care, however, without treatment or care, post-traumatic stress disorder can last years and interfere with routine life activities.
As mentioned above, car accidents are the leading cause of this psychiatric disorder among the general non-military population. The American Psychological Association also reports that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of trauma for men and the second leading cause of trauma for women.
What are the symptoms of PTSD from a car accident?
- Flashbacks It is common to have flashbacks after a car accident. You may replay the accident over and over in your mind. As time passes, they may happen when talking about the incident or just thinking about the accident. Triggers can also cause flashbacks. An example of something that would trigger a flashback is driving after an accident, driving past the scene where the accident occurred, or even riding in a car. Unfortunately, experiencing flashbacks after a car accident can trigger other health issues, like anxiety or depression.
- Avoidance. The most noticeable behavior you may experience is a sudden fear of driving. If you have a hard time discussing the accident or avoid discussing the accident, this could be a symptom of PTSD. Also, wrongful death or losing a loved one in an accident can cause shock and avoidance of anything related to the person or the incident.
- Changes in Mood. It is entirely understandable to feel upset after an accident. You may even feel upset for several days or weeks. Moreover, you may experience extreme mood fluctuations within a short time. While it is typical to have some sadness after the crash, symptoms that persist for several weeks could indicate PTSD.
- Detachment from others. Trauma from a severe car accident can cause you to detach emotionally and physically from your loved ones and cause extreme loneliness. As you pull away from others, you may also stop doing activities and things you loved before the accident.
- Anger and Frustration. Having PTSD from a car accident can cause you to experience frustrations and anger outbursts. They may stem from the feeling that avoiding something or making different decisions could have prevented the crash. In addition, having financial issues and medical bills after a car accident can also contribute to these feelings.
How to overcome PTSD after a car accident
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advised to seek help from a mental health professional who can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan. You should also consult an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney to discuss your legal options and whether you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Other ways to help yourself overcome PTSD would be to;
- Avoid triggers that tend to bring up flashbacks.
- Create a support system, and don't be afraid to talk with them about your feelings.
- Engaging in activities can help you relieve stress. These activities include yoga, self-care, meditation, and even long walks.
- Specific therapies can also help with PTSD, such as cognitive therapy and exposure therapy.
How Long Does PTSD Last?
PTSD symptoms may disappear within weeks or months or last for years–especially if not adequately treated.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you with your car accident PTSD.
If you believe you have suffered PTSD from a car accident, it is a good idea to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer immediately.
Your attorney can help you to gather the necessary proof of PTSD so you can be fully compensated. Your lawyer can also assist with negotiating a settlement with the other driver's insurer or filing a lawsuit to get the total amount of money you deserve.