Auto accidents can cause severe injuries that can take months or years to recover from. For most people, physical injuries are what comes to mind. In actuality, many car crash victims will also suffer from emotional injuries that can last indefinitely. Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a common emotional injury that victims of car accidents can suffer from following an accident. About 9 percent of motor vehicle accident victims will suffer from this disorder after an accident, so it’s important to be able to recognize and understand it in those around you.
Why PTSD Happens
There are several ideas as to why PTSD develops in accident victims. From the psychological standpoint, during traumatic experiences, people usually remember details vividly. This is a reaction that the brain has developed overtime to remember dangerous situations to better prepare them for the next time around. But, because car accidents are so traumatic to victims and painful to relive, the brain will try to override the information that it has so vividly imprinted within itself. Attempting to block this information will keep the flashbacks down to a manageable level so the person can try to function on a day-to-day basis, but that person will constantly be on guard, ready for the next battle.
Some also believe that PTSD is a physical response to a traumatic event that a victim has gone through. When we go through terrifying experiences, we enter “fight or flight” mode, and our bodies fill with adrenaline. Constant flashbacks of a harrowing event will keep adrenaline levels higher than normal, leading to a constant state of anxiety, stress, worry, or being on-guard.
Symptoms of PTSD After Auto Accidents
Auto accidents can be an especially difficult traumatic experience to go through because they usually involve more than one person. A victim of PTSD may have been in the car with a friend or family member who was also injured or didn’t survive the accident. He or she may struggle with survivor’s guilt along with PTSD, which only amplifies symptoms. PTSD is a psychological disorder and should be treated as such. Some of the most common symptoms to look for in a car accident victim are:
An ongoing, general feeling of uneasiness
Anxiety about driving or riding in vehicles
Irritability, or excessive worry or anger
Depression or sadness
Nightmares or trouble sleeping
A feeling that you’re not connected to other events or people
Ongoing flashbacks of the accident that you can’t stop or control
The most important thing to do if you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD following a car accident is to seek help from a therapist or loved one. It’s best to work on the underlying issues, which will then help the victim heal. Remember, PTSD is an emotional injury that can be pursued for emotional damages if it is a direct result of a car accident.
Contact our firm today at (877) 661-9900 if you or a loved one was injured in a car accident and would like to pursue compensation. We’re here to help you.