Can You Get PTSD After a Serious Car Accident?
Serious car accident injuries often leave physical scars and permanent life-long injuries. Sometimes they require nothing more than a cast to heal bone fractures. While there can be horrible physical injuries, there can also be emotional scars too. Research shows about 9 percent of car accident victims, or about 270,000 people, develop post-traumatic stress disorder in the U.S. every year.
The body may be responding naturally, but the effects can create additional stress for victims and their families. Symptoms, which can develop weeks or even months later, include:
- A fear response - anxiety and increased heart rate are common - when reminded of the accident, such as hearing screeching brakes
- Feeling on edge, jumpy or being startled more easily when in a car
- Being more watchful, even suspicious - scanning surroundings for potential or imagined threats (people driving too fast or overreacting to the innocent actions of another driver)
- Avoiding some situations or experiencing hesitation, such as when faced with highway driving
What are some treatments for PTSD?
- Exposure therapy is designed to help people confront their fears. Psychologists "expose" patients to what they fear and avoid in a safe environment.
- In cognitive therapy, patients are taught skills to change their thinking patterns and the way they respond to situations.
- Behavior therapy identifies potentially self-destructive and unhealthy behavior. Treatment focuses on patients addressing problems in a different manner.
- Medications prescribed to address fear and anxiety include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor).
What's important, experts say, is addressing anxiety early. While symptoms may lessen over time, they can also become more severe, more frequent and negatively impact a patient's daily life.
It is important to know that you're not alone
If you're suffering from PTSD following a car accident, you face obstacles beyond those of a physical injury. You may have a difficult time convincing anyone that your trauma is real, much less connected to the accident. You may be accused by an insurance company of faking your symptoms or told by others to "get over it." The new pressures you face add to your stress, making life more difficult. You may find it nearly impossible to work or even socialize. Your relationships will suffer. You may feel no one believes you and that your future is bleak.
The Florida car accident attorneys at The Law Firm of Pajcic & Pajcic have over 350 combined years of experience representing accident victims just like you in northern Florida, southern Georgia and across the country. Since 1974, we have secured $1 billion in settlements for our clients. We recognize the trauma that you are going through is real.
We are committed to providing professional and personalized service while securing justice and a fair settlement for you and your family. Contact us today for a free case consultation.