Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience. It can be an experience that stays with you for the rest of your life, which is why car accidents are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population. Every year, an estimated six million motor vehicle accidents happen in the U.S., resulting in more than 2.5 million injuries. It comes as no surprise that nearly 40 percent of these survivors develop some level of PTSD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Risk Factors and Predictors for PTSD After a Car Accident.
While a car accident can be a traumatic event for anyone, certain people are more prone to developing PTSD than others. These risk factors include a prior history of trauma, previous psychological adjustment issues, a family history of psychopathology, lack of social and/or emotional support after the accident. Other risk factors can include a perceived life threat to yourself or others and high levels of fear, guilt, or other emotions during or immediately after the accident occurs.
While no one set of circumstances can predict whether a car accident victim will develop PTSD, many similar characteristics are found in accidents where the development of PTSD was reported. If your life is in danger during the accident, PTSD has been shown to be more likely to develop.
Your perception of being in danger can lead to PTSD behaviors, such as avoiding getting into a car or getting on a highway for fear of getting into another accident. Avoidance behavior only worsens the PTSD by enforcing your fear or belief that driving is a dangerous activity that should be avoided at all costs.
Just because you are feeling a number of emotions, including grief, fear, confusion, and shock does not mean that you have PTSD after a car accident. Experiencing these feelings is completely normal. However, the difference with feeling these emotions normally and developing PTSD is these feelings do not go away over time and begin to worsen. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), if you are experiencing the following symptoms after a serious trauma, you may be developing some level of PTSD:
- Exhibiting avoidance behaviors;
- Experiencing intrusive memories;
- Changes to your emotional reactions to certain circumstances;
- Negative changes in thinking or mood;
If you have experienced a combination of any of these symptoms and have noticed that they are getting more severe or more frequent over time, it is important you seek help. It is vital that you seek medical intervention early to ensure that your symptoms do not grow to the point where they are unmanageable or are making your life overly difficult.
Help is Here.
Fortunately, if you are suffering from PTSD after a car accident, help is here, and you are not alone. Many people have found success in cognitive processing therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Medication can also be helpful in managing PTSD symptoms, but only after they have been properly diagnosed by a trained medical professional. Proper treatment of PTSD can help you get back to living your life and coping with the trauma of a serious auto accident.
Know Your Legal Rights after an Orlando Auto Accident.
Keep track of your symptoms (both physical and mental) as they occur. If anything feels not normal or out of the ordinary, make sure you document that fact and inform your doctor. Do not sign off on any settlement initially offered by your insurance (or the other driver’s) insurance company, before speaking with an attorney, first.
The Benenati Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its auto accident victims and their families. Our firm is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Orlando and throughout Central Florida victims injured in auto accidents or through negligence need only hit the 7s to reach the personal injury offices of the Benenati Law Firm. Our oath to you is handling your case from start to finish effectively, competently, and aggressively. Allow us the opportunity to give you the personal attention you deserve in your case. You pay us nothing unless we win your case. Please do not hesitate to call our office today at 407-777-7777 for a free legal consultation.
Abogado Hispano con experiencia en juicios sirviendo las necesidades legales de la comunidad de la Florida.
Source: Verywellmind.com The Risk of PTSD After a Car Accident