Car accidents are the leading cause of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the general population. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced a traumatic event such as a serious accident, natural disaster, an assault, and other tragic events. 

In today’s blog, we will discuss the impact of PTSD in depth.

The Effects of PTSD

People who have PTSD live with intense, disturbing thoughts related to the traumatic experience that can last years after it has ended. Sadly, they may relive the event through nightmares, feel perpetual sadness, anger, or fear, and they may feel estranged from their loved ones. Additionally, they may avoid situations that remind them of the event. 

Continue reading to learn about PTSD as it relates to car accidents.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD fall into the following four categories, and they each vary in severity:

  1. Intrusive thoughts, such as frequent, involuntary memories. Flashbacks may be so realistic to the point where the victim believes they’re re-experiencing the event.
  2. Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may include people, places, and activities that bring on distressing memories. Victims may resist talking about what happened and how they feel about it. 
  3. Negative thoughts, which include distorted beliefs about oneself or others, ongoing fear, guilt, or anger. Furthermore, the victim may experience less interest in activities they previously enjoyed. 
  4. Reactive symptoms, which may include irritability, outbursts, and acting recklessly. Additionally, the victim may find it difficult to concentrate or fall asleep. 

Understanding PTSD After a Car Accident

For most people involved in a car accident, fear goes away after a few weeks or months. However, those with PTSD experience a negative shift in the way they think or act. For example, someone who was involved in a collision and didn’t have PTSD may feel ready to drive again in a few days.

On the other hand, an individual with PTSD may avoid driving altogether. If you avoid going out, have shaky hands each time your hands are on the steering wheel, or scream every time a car comes too close to you, you should seek professional treatment. 

Tips to Help Improve Your Well-Being

We recommend you do the following to cope with your feelings after an accident:

  • Get professional help: A psychiatrist can help you manage your PTSD using therapy techniques, which include cognitive processing therapy, eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing therapy. Once you seek the appropriate treatment, you can begin to recover.
  • Reach out to your loved ones: Go over the details of your accident. Express how you felt and acted during the accident and the days after it. 
  • Exercise a few times a week: Do a few light exercises that don’t interfere with your injuries multiple times a week. Follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Be a defensive driver: Once you’re ready to get back on the road, you can lower your risk of future accidents by practicing defensive driving. Remember to drive carefully, wear your seatbelt, and avoid distractions while you’re behind the wheel. 

Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Is Here for You

Recovering from a car accident is never easy, especially if it resulted in physical and mental pain. One of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can help you receive the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing. Schedule your free case evaluation today.