Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Auto Collisions

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an emotional disorder that occurs after an individual experiences a terrifying or shocking event.

Due to the prevalence of Car Accidents and how severe they potentially can be, there is, in fact, a significant link between Auto Accident and PTSD.

Is There A Link Between Car Accidents And PTSD?

Posted by The Roth Firm on Aug 30, 2018 10:13:27 AM

Regardless of severity, Car Accidents are traumatic experiences in our life.

Risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after Car Accident

You can never plan for an auto accident, they always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times, and the mounting stress seems to be infinite.

We understand that these accidents carry an abundant amount of stress with them and once everything has been said and done, vehicles have been fixed, and loved ones have been properly treated medically, it can be a little bit of a relief.

However, once the final treatment has been cleared and you are ready to put the accident behind you, is it really?

The next time you buckle your seat belt does the accident flashback in your mind? Do you find yourself anxious pulling up to stop signs and accelerating through newly changed green lights?

What these feelings and sensations may seem like is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

However, that is something people who have been robbed or shot at experience, right? Not just simple car accidents, right? 

Let's dive into that.

Table Of Contents

Most Common Types of Car Accidents

It may seem a little silly to break down car accidents, but before getting to PTSD let's cover all of our bases.

The most common types of car accidents are the following:

  • Rear-End Collisions - you can learn more about the injuries associated with rear-end collisions here.
  • T-Bone Collisions
  • Low-Velocity Contact Crashes
  • Single Vehicle Crashes

While there are many different reasons that vehicular accidents occur, these four types are the most prevalent. 

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Car Crash | PTSD risk

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Now let's look at what exactly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is and how it ccould be linked to Motor Vehicle Accidents. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD is "a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event."

For our argument, this shocking situation would, of course, be the car accident. However, a traumatic event does need necessarily need to occur for an individual to begin suffering from PTSD.

For an adult to be considered suffering from PTSD, lingering reactions after the event must include:

  • At least one symptom that is reoccurring (Flashbacks and bad dreams)
  • One Avoidance Symptom (avoiding thoughts/feelings, purposefully staying away from certain locations and stimuli)
  • Two mood and cognition symptoms (Memory difficulties, negative thoughts, distorted feelings of guilt)
  • Two arousal and reactivity symptoms (Feeling tense, easily startled, or difficulty sleeping)

These symptoms must be experienced and displayed for at least one month.

The intensity of PTSD symptoms can vary over time. General stress can spark PTSD Symptoms or stimuli that is reminiscent of the terrifying event. 

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What are the Risk Factors for PTSD?

There are some known risk factors that contribute to experiencing PTSD.

These include the following: 

  • Genetics
  • Sex (Women are more likely to suffer PTSD than men)
  • Age
  • Mental health history
  • Prior trauma
  • Personality characteristics and traits

As you can see, there is a multitude of factors at play when it comes to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is an incredibly variable disorder that can affect individuals in different ways. There is no "one single" determining factor or traumatic event that can lead to the disorder.

So what does that mean for Car Accidents and PTSD?

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Link between PTSD and Auto Accidents

Linking PTSD and Auto Accidents

Over 100 billion dollars each and every year is spent on damage caused by vehicular accidents and auto accidents were considered to be the most traumatic event experienced by men and the second most traumatic event experienced by women. 

On top of PTSD, there is other emotional distress that accident victims suffer such as:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression

For more information regarding auto accidents and emotional distress, click here.

It is important to understand that while not every individual that suffers in a car accident needs professional treatment. Typically, unless the accident was severe or life-threatening, there is a significant chance there will be 0% lingering emotional stress.

However, there is a strong minority of victims that experience PTSD, anxiety disorders, and major depression. 

According to the National Center for PTSD, "between 14% and 100% of MVA survivors who seek mental-health treatment have PTSD, with an average of 60% across studies. In addition, between 3% and 53% of MVA survivors who seek treatment and have PTSD also have a mood disorder such as Major Depression."

Therefore, it appears there is a strong link between victims who seek mental-health treatment after vehicular accidents and PTSD. 

Does that mean individuals who do not seek mental-health treatment are less likely to suffer from PTSD? Unlikely.

Those individuals may be suffering without the awareness that the victims who sought help have. 

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Is There Treatment For Car Accident Victims with PTSD?

There are two incredibly important aspects we want individuals who are suffering from PTSD after an auto accident to know:

  1. You are not alone
  2. There is no shame in seeking help

There is treatment available, and we strongly urge anyone who thinks they may need it to reach out.

According to Family American Physician, there are three questions used for screening individuals for psychologic symptoms and their severity.

These include the following:

  1. Do you have nightmares or flashbacks of the accident? 
  2. Do you have issues or problems with traveling or driving in vehicles since the accident?
  3. Have you been developing any ritualistic behaviors?

Treatment for individuals suffering from PTSD often includes relaxation techniques for their anxiety, forms of therapy, and potentially medication.

One beneficial form of therapy that can be utilized is exposure therapy.  Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that helps suffering individuals confront their fears. The goal is to decrease life-Personal Injury Attorney Atlanta PTSDfear and avoidance.

Exposure therapy can help significantly with the following:

  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • Obsessive-Compulsive 
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Click here for more information on coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

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Contact the Law Firm that Fights for You

If you, or someone you care about, has been injured in a severe Car Accident in Georgia or Tennessee and is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, then contact The Roth Firm immediately. 

Our effective team of Personal Injury Attorneys will make sure you are compensated for the physical and emotional stress that has been inflicted on you. We have locations in Georgia (Atlanta, Marietta, Fayetteville) and Tennessee (Nashville).

Click the link below for a Free Consultation and discover how The Roth Firm's lawyers can protect your legal rights today.

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Schedule Your Free Consultation

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Topics: Car Accident Questions

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And thank you very much, we hope this article helped…