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Car Accidents Are the Leading
Cause of PTSD

March 17, 2013

It is easy to identify external injuries caused by car accidents, such as broken bones, bruises and lacerations. However, it is not as simple to identify psychological damage that often results from auto accidents. It has been discovered that car accident victims are at a high risk of developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. More than three million people are injured every year in auto accidents which cause serious injuries and often psychological problems. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can significantly impact someone’s life following a car accident and the symptoms can last for years.

PTSD has been defined as “an intense emotional and psychological response to an event, either recent or in the past, that was very disturbing or stressful.” It usually follows a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, assault or accident. Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder include difficulty with concentration, irritability and insomnia. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder affects not only the victim, as he or relives the event in their mind, avoids reminders of the accident and becomes detached from loved ones, it can also affect the family. Some families find it difficult to cope with the symptoms of PTSD and may find it hard to understand what their loved one is going through. This disorder can interfere with the victim’s daily life. Car accident victims experiencing PTSD often are too afraid to drive or ride in the car because it brings back too many memories of the car accident.

After a car accident, you should be evaluated for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder if you begin experiencing any of the symptoms. Treatment for PTSD usually includes counseling and medication, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. The authors of, After The Crash: Assessment and Treatment of Motor Vehicle Accident Survivors, Edward B. Blanchard, Ph.D. and Edward J. Hickling, Psy.D., have even suggested that almost half of people in car crashes are at risk of developing PTSD. In their book, the authors discussed some of the factors that increased the risk of developing PTSD, which included a fear of dying in an accident, waiting for a court decision and the seriousness of the injury. The book also analyzes the current research on PTSD, including the experiences and symptoms of survivors of auto accidents.

If you were involved in a car accident and have developed symptoms of PTSD, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer.