PTSD After an Accident
PTSD is closely associated with the military, but other traumatic incidents, such as car accidents, can cause the disorder. It is treatable, and with a lawyer’s help, you can obtain compensation for the condition. Thus, after a severe accident, discuss your mental state with a medical or psychological professional and a personal injury lawyer.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
PTSD is a psychological condition that affects people who experience or witness a terrifying event like a rollover bus accident. There is some commonality across all cases, which is a trigger that causes fear and stress. The condition is an anxiety disorder that tricks the brain into being in constant fight or flight mode. You will have an adrenaline-fueled reaction to an event that does not pose a risk. While fight or flight is beneficial when facing a risk, it is not when there is no risk present.
Risk factors For PTSD after an Accident
Feeling uneasy and shaken up is a typical reaction from a car accident; some risk factors can increase your chances of developing PTSD. Remember, anyone can have PTSD, regardless of risk factors. Having a support system after a traumatic event is essential, and when you do not have enough support, it can worsen your mental condition.
One critical risk factor is having experienced a previous traumatic event, whether another car accident or something else. Pertaining to the accident, if it was severe or life-threatening injuries, it can also be indicative of developing an anxiety disorder. If you have underlying depression or another mental illness, that can also increase your risk of developing PTSD.
Suppose there is a family history of psychopathology; it can also increase your risk of PTSD after a severe car accident. If you feel dissociation immediately after the event, that can be the first sign that you will develop PTSD or other mental health conditions. While more severe accidents can be indicators of mental health conditions developing, it will depend on the individual and their reaction to the incident.
What are normal feelings after an accident?
After an accident, you will feel anger, shock, nervousness, guilt, and fear. You will also be unable to stop thinking about the accident. A red flag is when the feelings do not go away or become stronger. If they become so strong, they do not let you live your life; you need medical intervention.
You must contact your doctor if you do not begin to feel better over time, have difficulty sleeping or eating, and are relying on drugs or alcohol to cope with your feelings. If your feelings disrupt your daily activities, it is a clear sign that something is wrong and you need professional help.
What to ask your doctor?
When you see your primary physician, you must describe all your symptoms and discuss whether you have PTSD and what treatment options are available.
When experiencing PTSD, you should ask some questions to clarify the prognosis.
- Will it ever go away?
- What are my treatment options?
- Are these feelings normal?
- Should I see a counselor or psychologist?
- When will I feel better?
- Is it possible it is another mental health condition?
- Can I take medicine to feel better?
Speaking with your primary doctor is the best time to ask questions and quell some fears. You might have felt hopeless up to this point, but getting answers will give you some hope. It will also help you determine what the rest of your life will look like since some conditions will resolve quickly, and others can stay for the long term.
Children and PTSD
Adults and children will have different symptoms of PTSD. While adults have intrusive thoughts and nightmares, children will show the trauma in other ways. Children will find it challenging to verbally express their emotions and instead express their fears through play.
When children have nightmares, they will dream of monsters and danger, but it will not be specific to the traumatic event. Since the child cannot express their ailments, parents and teachers need to be aware that there is something wrong with mood changes, avoidance, hyper-arousal, and other signs.
Treatment options are available but will vary because symptoms vary for every individual. PTSD can result in one or two symptoms, but severe PTSD can combine serious symptoms like paranoid ideation, hallucinations, and thoughts of self-harm. Severe PTSD is rare and can develop over time, especially without treatment. Symptoms can evolve as time passes, and while you had one symptom in the beginning, you might begin to see more later on.
Cognitive processing therapy identifies negative thoughts and feelings and helps individuals change these thoughts from negative to positive. You can even eliminate the feelings. You will slowly change your emotions, and through therapy, you will find the root cause, which brings a better understanding.
Prolonged exposure therapy is when a therapist safely brings up the events, which will help decrease your symptoms over time. Therapists will also help you see the accident differently and change your perspective. There is one on one therapy and group therapy sessions that can help individuals during this difficult time.
Medication is not a cure for PTSD, but it can stabilize the person while they get other treatment. The proper medication will help you sleep and decrease depression symptoms, but it does not cure the underlying issue. It is a short-term solution. The goal is to reduce the medication over time while you improve through other treatment options.
Animal therapy is a newer method to help people cope with mental conditions. Many patients find it easier to confide in an animal or are calmer during therapy sessions when an animal is present. Service animals obtain special training to warn victims of an oncoming flashback or anxiety attack. They also incentivize you to get out of bed and go outside.
How long does PTSD last?
It will all depend on your circumstances; some victims suffer PTSD for a few weeks, while others for years. Disability and death in an accident can prolong the symptoms and severity of your PTSD. You can experience a decrease in symptoms over time but still have PTSD. It will all vary depending on your accident, treatment, and support.
PTSD after a car accident
Post Traumatic stress disorder is common among car accident victims, even if the media and general public are unaware of it. Many victims do not get the psychological help they need because they believe these are normal reactions after their experience. The reality is PTSD is a real condition, and while some reactions are “normal” after a car accident, PTSD is not one and requires treatment.
Proving psychological injuries
You will need to have a medical professional diagnose you with PTSD. You will then need to connect the PTSD to the car accident and show how it negatively impacts your life. You will need to speak with a personal injury lawyer to discuss how your condition affects your case.
Psychological trauma does not have a tangible number in a car accident claim, but you can recover compensation. Many factors will affect your PTSD damages claim, including your individual experience, the insurance adjuster, the lawyer, and the court.
All parties must consider the severity of the physical accident-related injuries. Whether there was a fatality, they will also need to look at your prognosis, likelihood of recovery, and future medical treatment. Your lawyer will also consider any money you have already spent treating your PTSD, and try to pursue compensation to pay for it.