When we think about car accidents, most picture physical injuries, such as fractures, bruises and cuts. We often don’t realize that car accidents can result in psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.
While you can’t see these injuries, they can be just as debilitating.
The signs of psychological trauma
It’s not uncommon to suffer mental trauma after a car accident. In fact, approximately 25-33% of people experience PTSD for at least 30 days. And since the signs aren’t as apparent as external injuries, it’s important to recognize the symptoms, including:
- Mood changes and negative thoughts
- Flashbacks as the driver relives the moment of the accident
- Avoiding discussing the accident or situations that remind them of it
- Problems with memory
- Anger, anxiety and depression
- Problems sleeping
- Weight loss
- Increased isolation as they withdraw from social interaction, friends and family
- Substance abuse
If you notice the signs of PTSD in yourself or a loved one, things that might help include:
- Finding a support group
- Acknowledging your feelings
- Practicing mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing and guided meditation
- Reaching out to a therapist
PTSD is different for each person, and there is no “right” way to treat it. You might need to try different approaches before you find one that works.
The impact that PTSD has on a person’s life can’t be overstated. It can affect their job, relationships, physical health, cognition and overall quality of life. Effective treatment and recovery take time. If you have PTSD after a car accident, you may be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering and help with your medical expenses.