The Risk of PTSD After a Car Accident

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the general population. A study by the National Institute for Mental Health found that 39.2% of individuals involved in a car accident later suffered from PTSD. PTSD can be life-altering and prevent an individual from functioning in their daily life.


What is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that affects people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a serious car accident. It is normal to feel a wave of emotions after an accident such as shock, grief, confusion, helplessness, and fear. However, when these emotions stick with you after some time, it could be a sign that you have PTSD. Some symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Negative changes in mood and thinking—depression and anxiety
  • Avoidance behaviors—for example, avoiding getting in a car.
  • Intrusive memories—reliving the events of the accident
  • Changes in emotional reactions—becoming irritable or quick to cry.

In people who don’t develop PTSD, these feelings should subside with time. If these symptoms become overwhelming and affect your daily life, you should consult with a medical professional to determine if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.


Risk of PTSD

Specific characteristics of a car accident can make it more likely that a victim will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. In a 2012 study, it was found that a victim’s perception that their life was in danger was a major predictive factor in the development of PTSD. This perception can lead to avoidance behaviors such as not getting in a car or driving on a highway. These avoidance behaviors strengthen the perception that driving is a very dangerous activity and can make PTSD symptoms worse. In addition, being seriously injured in an accident can increase the likelihood of developing PTSD.


Treatment for PTSD

There are currently a number of effective treatments for post traumatic stress disorder after a car accident. Therapy techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can be helpful in managing symptoms. There are also a number of medications available that can treat symptoms and help manage the condition. If you feel that you may be suffering from PTSD, it is important to seek help from a medical professional.


Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced car accident attorney. The caring and compassionate attorneys at Bonina & Bonina, P.C., have been helping car accident victims for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.