A car accident can be a jarring experience. One moment you might be minding your own business and the next you’re facing painful injury and perhaps a few ailments you don’t immediately notice. We’re talking about post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, which affects many people after they have been in a car accident. 

The resulting PTSD effects can last longer than your physical injuries. 

What follows is a rundown of the effects of PTSD and the help that may be available to you during this trying time. Just know that help is available. 

If you feel that you are suffering from post traumatic stress injury following a car accident, the qualified attorneys at The Accident Injury Law Center can help. Call now for a free case review or keep reading to see if you have PTSD and learn about the options available to you following your devastating wreck or accident. 

What is PTSD?

The DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) states that to be officially diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, a person must have experienced, witnessed, or been confronted by a particular event that involved death (actual or threatened) or severe injury, to which the person responded with intense helplessness and fear.

PTSD can make life extremely difficult. It can negatively affect your home and work life, as well as your relationships. Therefore, it is critical that you get help for PTSD following an accident or injury as soon as possible, especially if you have traits that make you susceptible to post traumatic stress disorder. 

Are You Susceptible to PTSD?

The Mayo Clinic has identified a list of characteristics that make a person more likely to suffer PTSD following an accident or injury. These include a lack of proper support from family and friends, suffering other mental health issues like anxiety, having a family history of mental problems, and having a job that consistently exposes you to traumatic events. 

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD can affect individuals in various ways. Some may find themselves reliving the accident in nightmares or through daydream flashbacks. While driving, you may find yourself overcome with terror that forces you to pull to the side of the road. 

Severe anxiety can manifest in people with PTSD, and this nervousness can make it difficult to sleep and concentrate. You may find yourself blaming yourself for the accident and overcome with a sense of guilt or shame. 

53% of PTSD sufferers experience mood disorders following a vehicular accident and 41% experience major depressive episodes. 

Others completely block the accident out, preventing them from being able to recall significant details about the accident afterward. You may find yourself feeling intense feelings of betrayal, depression, hopelessness, and mistrust of anyone or anything. 

Have you been injured and was it someone else’s fault?

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Children with Accident Related PTSD

Adults aren’t the only ones who can be affected by a car crash or serious accident. Kids, too, can suffer the effects of PTSD. Worse is that children aren’t wise enough to realize what is going on. Their minds are still developing, so in many cases, the PTSD hits children the hardest. In fact, children are prone to severe trauma following events like a car crash, according to the NCTSN or National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Determining whether a child has PTSD can be challenging, as stress disorders can affect children differently, depending largely on age and maturity level. Young children might suddenly become fearful of the dark or might start wetting the bed out of the blue. Others may experience separation anxiety where before they could be left in solitude without trouble. 

Older children may have outbursts at school or suffer nightmares, have headaches, or have trouble sleeping. Others might display signs of depression and anxiety, and many may develop a fear of getting behind the wheel once they reach driving age. 

PTSD Following an Accident Can Be Treated

To treat post traumatic stress disorder means to improve your symptoms, teach you skills to deal with the intense feelings, and restore your self-esteem. Experts recommend two approaches to treating post traumatic stress disorder: Psychotherapy and medication.