When you think of PTSD, you may imagine a soldier coming home from war and having to adjust to civilian life. While many veterans do suffer from the effects of PTSD, this condition can inflict anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. In fact, many car accident victims have been diagnosed with PTSD.
Three million people are injured in car accidents in the United States every year. PTSD affects 60 percent of people who have been in a car accident and sought mental health treatment. Not everyone who is involved in a car crash will develop PTSD, but there are some factors that can increase the risk. For example, having experienced other traumatic experiences in the past can increase the risk. So can a history of psychological issues, losing someone in the crash, receiving little emotional support after the accident and experiencing an extreme emotional response after the crash (such as horror, shame, or guilt).
PTSD is a serious psychological disorder that can negatively impact one’s life. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and treatment options.
Symptoms of Car Accident PTSD
You may have PTSD if you experience the following:
- Flashbacks or constant reminders of the incident. For example, you may feel increased anxiety when you see cars drive by or hear a horn honking.
- Fear of driving. You may be scared to drive or even get in a car because it is a reminder of the crash.
- Increased vigilance. You may be more watchful and alert, especially of the actions of other drivers.
- Avoidance. If the accident occurred on a highway, you may avoid driving on highways.
These behaviors are the body’s natural response to a traumatic event. They should subside over time. However, if you notice that these behaviors are getting more frequent or worsening, then it may be time to seek help to overcome your extreme anxiety.
Treatment for Car Accident PTSD
Behavioral therapy is helpful for those experiencing PTSD symptoms. This process helps the person understand that feeling nervous is perfectly normal. It is then important to find ways to manage feelings of anxiety and anything that might trigger these feelings.
The worst thing a person can do after a car accident is to avoid cars. This does not solve the problem. The longer a person avoids cars, the more severe the PTSD can become. In fact, exposure therapy is often used. This type of therapy exposes the person to the trigger, such as cars, and works them through their fear and anxiety so they can feel better about being inside a vehicle.
Get Hurt? Get Gary!
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic event. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD following a crash, it’s crucial that you seek treatment as soon as possible.
The Falkowitz Law Firm can ensure you have the resources you need to reduce your anxiety and live a fairly normal life after a serious car accident. We can assist you with your emotional recovery. To schedule a consultation, call our office at 844-GET-GARY.
Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.