Is there such a thing as car accident PTSD?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2023 | Injuries

Some mental health challenges are congenital, meaning that they relate to a genetic condition that a child inherited from their parents. Many other mental health conditions are acquired health issues. For example, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be a significantly debilitating mental health condition, is acquired as a result of an individual’s life experience. It is often very difficult to treat and can lead to significant limitations that impact an individual’s daily life, their career and their closest relationships.

When people discuss PTSD, they often talk about military trauma or what first responders like paramedics might witness when arriving at the scene of a tragedy. Those can certainly be traumatizing incidents, but they are far from the only source of PTSD. For example, being involved in a car crash can cause PTSD.

Wrecks can affect the people involved for years

A car crash can be a traumatizing experience for many different people, particularly those in the vehicles when the crash occurs. Someone involved in a wreck that left them severely injured or claimed someone else’s life may have severe emotional trauma resulting from the collision.

The trauma of experience may cause anxiety or depression symptoms. It may lead to an aversion to common activities, like riding in a motor vehicle. They may have intrusive memories, including debilitating flashbacks where they feel like they experience the crash all over again. They may have sleep disruptions or traumatic nightmares. Car accident trauma is one of the many life experiences that could lead to diagnosable PTSD. Those with PTSD from a car wreck may feel uncomfortable driving or even traveling in a motor vehicle.

Can people treat PTSD?

Researchers are only now beginning to understand PTSD and how to help people cope with or overcome it. There is an assortment of different treatments available, including therapeutic modules that focus on desensitization. Depending on the severity of someone’s PTSD, they may require months or even years of treatment to reduce their symptoms, which can prove very expensive. In some cases, those diagnosed with PTSD may be able to include treatment costs in their car insurance claim. They may also need to consider civil litigation as a way to demand compensation from the driver who caused the wreck.

Acknowledging that a collision could be the source of severe mental health issues and massive expenses might help people better respond to both their medical and legal needs following a recent car wreck.

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