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Understanding PTSD After A Car Accident


Sadly, car accidents are not as rare as we’d like them to be. Being in a car accident can drastically change your life in several ways including physical injuries and financial costs. However, sometimes the injuries left after an accidents are not physical, but mental instead.

After a car accident, it is understandable that you may not be eager to hop back into your car even when you’re not the one driving. You may find yourself nervous around cars or seem to do whatever you can do avoid talking about the accident. These symptoms may seem minor and unimportant, but they might not end there. After a car accident, you could find yourself with severe nightmares, reoccurring thoughts about the accident, flashbacks, anger issues and severe anxiety.

While most will have trouble coping and adjusting at first, but recover without too much hassle. However, when these symptoms last for months or even years and effect your ability to function or support yourself, you may have a serious mental disorder called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental disorder that develops after a traumatic event that involves physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The individual who develops PTSD may have been the one harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the individual may have witnessed the harmful event that happened to others.

Why Would You Develop PSTD After A Car Accident?

Most of us think of soldiers when talking about PTSD. However, PTSD is actually much more common in those who have experienced or witnessed a car accident. The accident does not have to be a severe one nor does anyone need to be physically harmed for the mental disorder to occur after an accident.

Other mental disorders can also develop after a car crash including persistent anxiety, depression, and phobias. These disorders can work alongside PTSD, but they can just as easily exist without PTSD symptoms can be equally severe.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms?

The length and severity of symptoms can vary a bit from person to person. PTSD can cause many symptoms that can be grouped into three categories:

  • 1) Re-experiencing symptoms
    -Flashbacks-reliving the trauma over and over, including symptoms like sweating or a racing heart
    -Frightening thoughts
    -Reoccurring nightmares
    These re-experiencing symptoms that can cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can have these symptoms either from the person’s own thoughts and feelings or from triggers that remind them of the event.
  • 2) Hyperarousal symptoms
    -Being easily startled
    -Feeling tense or “on edge”
    -Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts
    Hyperarousal symptoms are typically constant and aren’t necessarily from triggers that remind them of the event. This can cause them to be angry, stressed, and makes it challenging to do everyday tasks.
  • 3) Avoidance symptoms
    -Feeling emotionally numb
    -Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
    -Staying away from places, events, or objects that remind the individual of their experience
    -Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
    -Having trouble remembering the traumatic event

Things that remind the individual of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you’re having trouble coping after your accident, after a loved one’s accident, or after witnessing an accident, make sure to seek out help from a medical professional. Even if your symptoms do not seem severe in nature, speaking to a mental health professional can help you feel better and prevent symptoms from worsening later on.

We can help you out too!

Car accidents are a pretty traumatic event and the last thing you need is to suffer with medical bills. Don’t let yourself get stuck with debt after your accident! Our team has decades of experience working with individuals injured in a car accident. Has the accident made it impossible to get back to work and support yourself? We also have the experience to get you the disability benefits you need after an accident.

Contact us today to set up a free initial consultation and find out what your legal options are.

During his time as a public attorney for the State of Florida, Bernard Walsh developed a passion for defending the legal rights of Florida's citizens. Having seen many people being taken advantage of after being injured and the financial harm that can cause for families he committed himself fully to helping injured clients get justice, by fighting to make greedy insurance companies pay what they owe.

Understanding PTSD After A Car Accident

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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