PTSD is one of the lingering effects of car accidents that we don’t often consider. This condition is marked by flashbacks, nightmares, and a sometimes-constant feeling of dread that makes it seem as though the accident is still happening. People often think of PTSD as something that you don’t have to worry about unless you have been on the front lines of war or in the path of a devastating natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or another cataclysmic event. However, the truth of the matter is that events like automobile accidents can trigger the same emotional response that these other events do, which leads to PTSD.
The easiest way to explain PTSD is as a condition caused by a single-incident trauma, causing lasting negative effects. The trauma isn’t limited to the things we picture as “major events.” Every day accidents and incidents are just as likely to cause PTSD. The good thing, though, is that doctors and scientists are making breakthroughs in this field all the time. As they develop a better understanding of the symptoms of PTSD, they are better equipped to treat the condition. If you have been in a car accident and can’t seem to move on emotionally, there are symptoms you can look for to identify PTSD.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
Although the workings of the mind are different for every individual and conditions like PTSD are difficult to diagnose, there are a few symptoms you should be aware of that may indicate you are suffering from the condition after an automobile accident, such as:
- Variations or changes in thoughts and mood. It is natural to be in shock in the wake of a car accident, even if it was not a severe one, but when the effects don’t diminish in a few days, there may be cause for concern. If you are suffering from depression after a wreck and feel as if the whole world around you has changed, you may be suffering from PTSD. One such overwhelming feeling is developing a fear of driving or even riding in a car because you no longer feel safe.
- Hyper-arousal. Surviving a car accident may trigger this response that is also a symptom of PTSD. Hyper-arousal is a nervous response to events or actions that didn’t cause the same response before the accident. You may experience sweating, butterflies in your stomach, heavy breathing, or increased heart rate at the very thought of getting into a car or being in a place that reminds you in any way of the accident.
- Emotional numbing and avoidance. This crippling type of anxiety causes an individual who has been in an accident to avoid being in situations or around people who remind them of the accident. In some cases, it can lead to being completely withdrawn. When it is this severe, it limits the individual’s ability to live their normal daily life.
- Re-experiencing. This is perhaps the most common symptom that we associate with PTSD. It involves not being able to stop thinking about an event like a car accident. It can manifest in flashbacks, including auditory memories like repeatedly hearing the sound of the crash or the emergency vehicle sirens, and visual memories of the accident that feel as though it is happening again. It can also involve nightmares and dreams that affect the victim’s normal sleep patterns.
How Can You Treat PTSD?
Medical professionals can help those suffering from PTSD get back into their daily routine by managing the effects of their condition. In some cases, it is as easy as providing the patient with information on things they can keep an eye out for in their behavior so that they can meet the emotional distress head-on and nip it in the bud. This may require a strong emotional support system, but many individuals are able to address the issue in this way.
In more severe cases, however, behavioral therapy is sometimes necessary. This treatment involves finding effective ways to manage anxiety and deal with triggers. It is best to follow through with this type of treatment sooner rather than later, as the condition may worsen with time if left untreated. The important thing to realize is that fear can bypass all rational thoughts automatically. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is not a sign of weakness. The condition can be treated, and you can get back to living your life.
Getting a Settlement for Your Injuries
If you feel that you have been affected by PTSD after an automobile accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. You should also have a knowledgeable law team on your side to help you get fair compensation for your injuries. The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC has the experience to help you navigate this difficult and stressful process. Reach out to us today at (916) 536-7586 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.