There is no doubt that a serious car accident can be extremely traumatizing. You or a loved one may have been seriously injured, and there may have been a loss of life. The entire experience can be overwhelming, resulting in a variety of strong emotions. It’s normal to be in shock and disbelief, angry at the other driver, anxious about driving again, or even guilty. In more extreme cases, some see flashbacks, have panic attacks, or experience insomnia.
For the most part, these emotions should start to fade after a while. On the other hand, some people’s lives are completely disrupted by these feelings. If your day-to-day functioning has been compromised due to the accident, you may be experiencing post-traumatic stress.
What is PTSD?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.”
It’s normal to be impacted by a traumatic event after the fact. For a while, you may be nervous to drive, upset about the entire situation, and overwhelmed with emotion. But people with PTSD continue to experience those same emotions just as strongly for an extended period of time. In order to be considered PTSD, the repercussions of the accident need to be impacting the person’s normal functioning for months to come.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of PTSD are divided into categories: Re-experiencing, avoidance, reactivity, and cognition, and mood. Those with PTSD have at least one behavior in each category that lasts for over a month. Here are a few symptoms in each category:
- Frightening thoughts
Staying away from anything that reminds the person of the accident. This can be objects, places, people, or even thoughts.
- Easily startled
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anxious, constantly on edge
- Emotional outbursts, like aggression or crying
Cognition and mood
- Blocking out memories of the event
- Upsetting thoughts
- Negative emotions like guilt or blame
- Pessimistic outlook of themselves and the future
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
How is PTSD treated?
There are many ways to treat PTSD. Going to a therapist that specializes in PTSD is an invaluable resource for those dealing with these debilitating symptoms. Therapists can help you sort through complicated emotions and recommend effective coping mechanisms. Many therapists can also recommend a psychiatrist if they think you’d benefit from medication.
In addition to therapy and medication, there are a few things you can do on your own to help.
- Open up to loved ones about what you’re struggling with
- Go for regular walks or start an exercise routine
- Identify sources of comfort, whether it’s a place, person, or activity
Can I Be Compensated?
If you were involved in an accident that resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder, you can absolutely receive compensation.
PTSD causes extreme emotional distress and can cost you your job or quality of life. Because of this, you have the right to receive financial compensation. This can be through a civil or criminal lawsuit. Reach out to us and we can go over your options. Always remember: you’re not alone!