One of the most common misconceptions about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is that it only affects people like wounded war veterans who have suffered extreme trauma. The reality, though, is that PTSD can affect anyone at any time. No matter if you’re a teacher, a fire fighter, or a librarian, if you’ve suffered even a minor trauma you run the risk of suffering from the ill effects of PTSD.
A traumatic event that causes PTSD for many victims is car accidents. Several studies have shown that over 25 to 33% of car accident victims experience symptoms of PTSD within a month of their vehicle accident. Victims of car accident PTSD often experience a debilitating aversion to driving or being inside of a car at all, recurring nightmares or flashbacks of the car crash, or possibly “increased physical arousal,” such as sensitivity to abrupt movements or excessively loud sounds. The following is a list of the most common car accident PTSD symptoms as well as the best possible methods of treatment available to auto crash victims.
Many car accident PTSD victims describe feeling feelings of avoidance after their traumatic crashes. PTSD avoidance occurs whenever victims respond negatively to external stimuli such as triggered memories, feelings, thoughts, or sensations that are related to what caused their trauma. Some examples of stimuli are sights, scents, locations, familiar symbols, people who were involved in the incident, or anything that bears some sort of connection to the traumatic event itself.
A common sign of avoidance by car accident PTSD victims is refusing to drive or be a passenger in a car. It is also common for victims of car accident PTSD to have more narrow fears, like driving over a bridge or traveling at a high rate of speed. Thankfully, symptoms of PTSD avoidance tend to lessen as time goes on. In some instances, however, PTSD avoidance symptoms can grow worse for victims. If you feel your symptoms of avoidance are getting more difficult to deal with as they days go on, then you should probably consider making an appointment with a mental health professional
PTSD Hyperarousal Following a Car Accident
Hyperarousal is a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that many car accident victims struggle with in the days and weeks following their car crash. Car accident PTSD victims experiencing hyperarousal symptoms of extreme paranoia, describing the experience as being on high alert for no apparent reason at all. Victims often feel exceptionally high levels of stress, difficulty sleeping, sporadic episodes of panic, and unexplained irritability, as well as negative emotions such as shame, fear, and anger.
Hyperarousal symptoms can be triggered whenever car accident PTSD victims are reminded of the trauma that initially caused the PTSD symptoms. Victims’ bodies will react as if they were once again experiencing the trauma. The most effective treatment for hyperarousal symptoms is by regularly seeing a trained mental health therapist. Some victims may even need medication to help overcome symptoms that prove to be too incapacitating.
Anhedonia Caused by Car Accident PTSD
Anhedonia, also known as “emotional numbing,” is one of the most common symptoms of several types of depressive disorders. Anhedonia is also a symptom of car accident PTSD. Car accident victims who suffer from anhedonia after their car crash find it difficult to take pleasure in activities, events, and experiences, such as sports or even visiting family and friends, that they enjoyed prior to their trauma. Victims of car accident PTSD commonly experience symptoms such as emotional numbing, withdrawal from social situations, self-loathing, disgust toward other people, a depletion of the libido, and chronic aches and pains.
Anhedonia symptoms are often caused by physical ailments, so if you suspect you are suffering from PTSD anhedonia you should visit your primary care physician to ensure you aren’t suffering another condition like a vitamin deficiency or some sort of thyroid dysfunction. If your symptoms aren’t a manifestation of a physical ailment you should schedule an appointment with a mental health professional to set up a proper treatment plan.
Intrusive Thoughts and Memories from PTSD
Easily the most stressful car accident PTSD symptom for victims is intrusive thoughts or memories. When victims experience intrusive thoughts or memories, they are usually of the traumatic event that caused the PTSD. Many victims describe recurring dreams or nightmares and, in severe cases, complete flashbacks of the auto accident itself, causing victims to believe the event was happening all over again.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is common for car accident PTSD victims to experience severe emotional distress or profound physical reactions to objects, people, or situations that happen to trigger negative memories of the car accident. The best treatment for such intrusive thoughts is to speak to a trained mental health therapist to help identify what precisely is triggering them in the first place. It’s only after the root causes of these intrusive memories that car accident PTSD victims can finally confront what is truly causing these fears. Some victims might be tempted to simply avoid whatever is causing such triggers, but this is a mistake. Avoidance will only increase isolation for victims at the end of the day and could even lead to further depressive patterns and habits.\
Call the Advocates
Just because Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an injury hidden deep inside the human skull, this doesn’t mean the detrimental effects aren’t as painful or real for car accident PTSD victims as broken bones and spinal injuries. If you believe you are suffering from the PTSD symptoms above then you will need an Advocate to help you get the legal compensation you deserve after your car accident. Our injury attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims all throughout Utah. We know how to get you just compensation for your losses and injuries. Don’t wait to contact our office today. You can call us at (801) 326-0809 or chat online right now with a live injury lawyer from our homepage. Contact us today. You deserve an Advocate!
Was this helpful?