Car accidents can be shocking, terrifying, and life-changing experiences. For some victims, the trauma they experienced from the accident or the injuries it caused can result in long-term psychological distress. PTSD can be detrimental to an individual’s well-being and ability to handle day-to-day tasks. If you believe that you are experiencing PTSD, a proper medical diagnosis can be critical to improving your quality of life. A qualified mental health professional can evaluate your symptoms and help craft a treatment plan to help you overcome the physical and mental symptoms associated with PTSD, so you can begin to heal.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people associate PTSD with individuals who have experienced the horrors of war. However, it can affect anyone who has gone through any type of traumatic event, ranging from abuse and sexual assault to car accidents and natural disasters. In fact, it is estimated that up to one-third of car accident victims experience PTSD symptoms within 30 days of their crash. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Vivid flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts about the accident.
- Emotional difficulties, such as numbness or hypervigilance.
- Phobias related to situations similar to the accident (such as a fear of driving at night).
- Increased startle reflex.
- Panic attacks.
- Memory loss.
- Physical symptoms caused by stress, such as digestive disorders, headaches, muscle pain, chest tightness, and dizziness.
How is PTSD Treated?
If you are suffering from any symptoms of PTSD or other mental distress after a car accident, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. They should be able to provide you with a referral to a mental health professional who can evaluate you for PTSD. Once diagnosed, they can discuss a treatment plan with you. They may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a form of talking therapy, or medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Eye movement desensitization is another method of treatment that has been found effective for some patients. Your medical professional will help you decide what treatments are right for you. However, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis and require immediate help, do not hesitate to contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 for 24/7 assistance.
Can You Recover Damages if an Auto Accident Caused You to Experience PTSD?
Some individuals recover from PTSD reasonably quickly, while others may require long-term treatment that can become quite expensive. If you have PTSD, be certain to inform your lawyer because the cost of your medical treatments should be calculated into your settlement, along with non-economic damages for the mental and emotional suffering you’ve endured. Contact our law firm for a free consultation to learn more about your rights to compensation if you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD due to a car accident.