What to Know About PTSD After a Car Accident

May 10, 2023Personal Injury

Following a car accident, leftover feelings of emotional trauma can make recovering mentally challenging. Even after experiencing a minor accident, you may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, a more severe accident usually equals a greater risk of emotional trauma.

It is crucial to recognize that what you are feeling is normal and that while the feelings are valid, you should not discount them when seeking damage for your injuries. PTSD can turn your life upside down and can have a negative impact on your future. You deserve compensation as well as justice.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Defined

After a person is involved in or witnesses a traumatic event, the effects can be long-lasting. The trauma you experience can leave you with a multitude of symptoms. The impact of PTSD can manifest itself in myriad ways.

Commonly, PTSD begins within a month of the event that caused it, but this is not always the case. It may be years before PTSD symptoms appear. These symptoms can make having work and personal relationships challenging while interfering with going about daily life.

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are typically grouped into the following categories:

  • Intrusive memories
  • Avoidance
  • Negative changes in thoughts and mood
  • Reactions may change to physical and emotional stimuli

Intrusive Memories and Their Symptoms

Intrusive memories may come to the forefront with the following symptoms:

  • Distressing memories of the event that recur even though they are unwanted
  • Bad dreams and nightmares about the event
  • Flashbacks, or the feeling that you are back there, experiencing the trauma again as if it is really happening
  • Acute emotional distress or being physically affected by something that reminds you of the event that created the trauma.

Avoidance and the Symptoms You May Experience

If you are experiencing the symptoms of avoidance, you may want to avoid discussing the event or your feelings about it. You may be driven to avoid places that will remind you of it or activities that might spark memories of the event. Avoiding people who remind you of the possibility that sparked the trauma is not unusual when avoidance is being practiced.

Negative Changes in Mood and Thoughts

If you are experiencing negative changes in your mood or your thinking, the following symptoms might present themselves:

  • Dark or negative thinking regarding yourself, others, or the world as a whole
  • No hope for the future
  • Trouble remembering the details of the traumatic event or difficulty remembering in general.
  • You may find personal, close relationships challenging to maintain.
  • A detachment from friends and family
  • A loss of interest in the things that previously brought you joy.
  • You could experience a challenge when it comes to experiencing positive emotions.
  • Emotional numbness

How Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions Present Themselves

Changes in physical and emotional reactions are common after a trauma manifest themselves as arousal symptoms which may be seen as follows:

  • Heightened startle response
  • Constant feelings of vigilance in case of danger
  • Behavior that could harmfully impact the sufferer, like drinking excessively and behaving recklessly.
  • Difficulty getting enough sleep
  • Concentration can become nearly impossible.
  • Aggressive behavior like angry words or irritability is common.
  • Feelings of guilt and shame can be overwhelming.

Symptoms vary from person to person and may vary in intensity.

Seeing a Doctor May Help

Suppose the disturbing feelings continue for over a month after the catastrophic event. In that case, if they are interfering with your life, or if you feel they are severe, it is crucial to speak to a mental health professional.

Seek emergency medical attention if you have suicidal thoughts or thoughts leading to self-harm. You may need intensive therapy or medication. Take the measures you need to protect yourself from the intrusive thoughts you are experiencing.

After Seeking Medical Help, You Should Seek the Help of a Car Accident Attorney

Speak to a car accident attorney with Gold & Gold about the issues you have been experiencing. We will be able to navigate the complicated legal landscape for you. Our firm offers compassionate guidance, protection of your rights, and support as you overcome your struggles.