Are You Suffering From PTSD After A Car Accident in St. Louis, MO?

A car accident can cause numerous physical injuries and harms for drivers and passengers. However, car accident victims may also sustain severe emotional distress and mental trauma.

In some cases, a car crash victim might develop psychological injuries, including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD? Knowing more about PTSD can help you determine if you might have PTSD after a car accident.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder. Some individuals develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event. 

Traumatic events that could result in PTSD include, but are not limited to:

  • Natural disasters, such as fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods
  • Combat or serving in a war zone
  • Assaults and violent acts
  • Sexual assaults
  • Motor vehicle accidents

In some instances, a person who witnessed a family member’s death or traumatic injury could develop PTSD. 

How Common is PTSD After Car Accidents?

Studies and research indicate that car accident victims have an increased risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. One source states that automobile accidents are a leading cause of PTSD. In fact, over one-fifth of car crash victims develop PTSD after the accident. 

Unfortunately, PTSD can be as debilitating as a physical disability. A person may not be able to perform daily activities because of PTSD symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD After a Car Accident

PTSD can cause a variety of symptoms. However, the symptoms you might experience could be different from the symptoms another person might experience. Likewise, the circumstances of the car wreck could impact the severity and symptoms of PTSD.

You might not experience PTSD symptoms for weeks or months following the crash. In some cases, a person might not experience debilitating PTSD symptoms for years after an accident. Another event could trigger PTSD symptoms.

Some symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder after a traffic accident include:

  • Refusing to ride in a vehicle or drive a car
  • Nightmares or flashbacks of the traffic accident
  • Avoiding people, places, and other things that remind you of the car crash
  • Experiencing severe mood swings, such as angry outbursts, bouts of crying, and periods of severe depression
  • Feeling like you are on-edge 
  • Sounds of sirens and horns cause severe anxiety and panic
  • Being easily startled
  • Changes in sleeping and eating 
  • Withdrawing and isolating yourself
  • No interest in doing things you used to enjoy
  • Having suicidal thoughts or negative thoughts

If you experience symptoms of PTSD or signs of depression or other emotional disorders after a car accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. Psychological injuries require mental health treatment. They can be just as serious or more serious than some physical injuries.

How Do Doctors Diagnose and Treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Doctors diagnose PTSD by listening to a patient. They note the various symptoms reported by the patient, the severity of the symptoms, and how often the patient experiences the symptoms. If a patient experiences specific symptoms for at least one month, the doctor might diagnose PTSD.

Symptoms fall into one of four categories:

  • Arousal or reactivity symptoms, such as feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping
  • Mood or cognition symptoms, such as trouble focusing or remembering details 
  • Re-experiencing symptoms, including nightmares and flashbacks
  • Avoidance symptoms, such as refusing to ride in a motor vehicle 

Treatments for PTSD may include counseling and medication. A doctor may prescribe a combination of behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, and psychotherapy to treat PTSD. A person can learn about triggers that make PTSD symptoms worse and how to cope with and manage PTSD.

Personal Injury Claims for PTSD and Other Psychological Injuries 

Living with PTSD, depression, and other psychological injuries after a car accident can be challenging. For example, loud noises and other triggers could result in debilitating fear and panic attacks. In addition, a person may have trouble focusing enough to work or take care of household chores.

Children can also develop PTSD after a car accident. A child may begin performing poorly in school, wetting the bed, having nightmares, and withdrawing from family and social situations. 

When you file an injury claim, you can include economic damages caused by PTSD and other psychological injuries in your claim. Victims may receive compensation for their damages related to PTSD. 

You could receive reimbursement for medical treatment, counseling, therapy, and lost wages. You may also recover compensation for the non-economic damages caused by PTSD. 

If you have questions about a PTSD injury claim, you can talk to a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney can evaluate your claim and explain your legal options for recovering compensation for PTSD after a car crash.