PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health condition that can impact people after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. A serious auto accident is an example of such a traumatic event. PTSD can leave victims feeling powerless because of intrusive thoughts, negative mood changes, and hyperarousal. Below, we offer insights on how to deal with PTSD following a serious auto accident.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Following a serious auto accident, which can instill intense horror, fear, and helplessness in victims, a mental condition called PTSD can take hold. This debilitating mental disorder can make daily life challenging because of high levels of anxiety, repetitive revisiting of the accident, and struggling with erratic mood swings. Not only does PTSD impact the sufferer, but it can also cause turbulence in relationships with family members and friends.
During a serious auto accident, victims may experience extreme fear and pain. The feeling of wondering whether you’ll live or die can have serious psychiatric implications. Alongside issues relating to PTSD, many auto accident survivors have debilitating injuries including damage to the spinal cord, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and amputations. Even victims left with minor injuries can feel the wrath of emotional trauma associated with PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD After an Auto Accident
PTSD can cause a range of different symptoms that may not be immediately obvious. Common signs of PTSD include:
- Hyperarousal. The feeling of being on edge and in constant danger and having trouble concentrating, sleeping, and controlling anger.
- Negative mood changes. Many PTSD sufferers experience depression, guilt, and anxiety; they may also struggle to feel positive emotions like joy and happiness.
- Avoidance. This is actively staying away from reminders of the event, including people and places; some victims may have fears about getting into a car as a passenger or driver.
- Intrusive thoughts and memories. These are sudden flashes of memories that can be extremely intrusive, whether they emerge during the day or as nightmares.
Treatment for PTSD After an Auto Accident
Even though PTSD following an auto accident can feel impossible to overcome, there are many effective treatment options including psychiatric help and medication. Common therapeutic treatments include:
- Prolonged exposure therapy. A type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that teaches victims to approach traumatic situations, feelings, and memories.
- Cognitive processing therapy. Therapists help victims identify negative thoughts like “I don’t deserve to be here anymore” and then help to reshape them into positive thoughts.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). A controversial therapy which is designed to alleviate traumatic distress through eye movements.
Alongside therapy, victims may be prescribed medications to help them overcome PTSD. Common drug treatments include anti-anxiety, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers.
In the world of psychology, many experts believe that animals can significantly help PTSD sufferers. After all, animals will listen without casting judgment, which can help victims feel safe and secure. If you have the capacity to care for a pet, you could explore the idea of seeking out a service dog trained to identify PTSD and help people escape negative situations.
Self-Care for PTSD After an Auto Accident
Therapy and medication can be essential components of overcoming PTSD following a serious auto accident, but these efforts can be strengthened by adopting self-care strategies. For example, mindfulness exercises can help victims to be present and block out intrusive thoughts. As well as this, relaxation techniques including meditation and deep breathing can help to tackle anxiety and stress.
Making general lifestyle changes can also help overcome PTSD. Things like eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help manage overall well-being and mood. Further, having a solid support network, including friends and family, can help deal with feelings of isolation and fear.
Claiming Compensation for PTSD
Following a serious auto accident, you have the right to claim compensation to cover damages. Many people believe they can only claim for physical financial damage including injuries, property damage, and loss of earnings. However, a qualified auto accident attorney can help you claim compensation for pain and suffering, which includes psychiatric disorders like PTSD.
To do this, we will need to collect evidence to prove you have PTSD and that it was caused by the auto accident. This is why it’s essential to seek professional medical treatment and keep hold of all records. Alongside documentation, we will conduct interviews with expert therapists and additional witnesses.
Auto accidents can be extremely traumatic events, which can leave victims with serious mental and physical conditions. If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious auto accident, visit Denmon Pearlman Law at the following locations:
- Tampa – 2504 W Crest Ave, Tampa, FL 33614
- Petersburg – 520 2nd Ave South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
- New Port Richey – 5703 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL 34652
- Brooksville – 1790 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601
- Seminole – 5290 Seminole Blvd. Suite D, St. Petersburg, FL 33708
Or call now for a free consultation on (800) 800-4300.