When an individual is involved in a major car accident, it’s only natural for medical response teams and E.R. staff to worry about a victim’s injuries and the physical implications of the accident before anything else. A serious car wreck can cause serious damage to the human body and not every injury will be immediately apparent.
After a victim is on the mend and recovering from any physical injuries, however, there’s another type of health to consider—a victim’s mental health. When we’re not mentally healthy, it may become difficult to function on a day-to-day basis or achieve future goals. Our mental outlook and disposition can have a dramatic effect on our overall state of health and wellbeing.
According to research done by the American Psychological Association, being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident is a common cause of traumatic stress—one that isn’t often discussed. In our nation, it’s common to downplay mental or emotional trauma, but as individuals, we can all imagine how and why a serious car wreck could cause us to worry, grieve, or become anxious when we’re behind the wheel or think about the accident. Mental stress is more common than many believe.
The research suggests that approximately 9% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). Other common diagnoses include major depression and anxiety disorders. These diagnoses are treatable, of course, but many victims choose to not pursue treatment options due to the negative stigmas often surrounding mental healthcare. There’s also the fact that many insurance options do not cover mental healthcare.
If you or someone you love was in a car accident and is experiencing any of the following symptoms (regardless of how recent the accident was), PTSD may be a possible cause:
- Recurrent, involuntary memories about the accident
- Reliving the accident as if it were recurring (flashbacks)
- Recurrent distressing dreams about the accident
- Intense emotional distress after someone talks about car accidents, for example, or after having a “close call” on the road
- Intense physical reactions to trauma reminders like those listed above
- A desire to avoid situations, activities, or places that remind the victim of the accident
PTSD may also be accompanied by these symptoms:
- Inability to remember certain details about the accident
- Persistent, exaggerated negative thoughts and beliefs
- Persistent, distorted thoughts about how the accident was caused (blaming themselves)
- Decreased interest in hobbies, pleasurable activities, etc.
- Persistent negative emotional state
- Feelings of detachment
- Self-destructive or reckless behavior
- Difficulty focusing
- Issues sleeping
PTSD is serious and can significantly impact an individual’s future. If any of the above symptoms of PTSD sound familiar, you should seek professional psychological or psychiatric care as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, seeking legal aid may also be an option. Filing a lawsuit against a driver who was negligent may help deliver peace of mind. Get in touch with a Lexington car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Todd W. Burris to learn more.