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5 Things You Should Know About Car Accidents and PTSD

In the United States, at least 3.5% of adults are impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) each year. Similarly, about one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime.

PTSD is “an anxiety disorder that often follows a traumatic event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury, or threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others.”

Anyone can develop PTSD as a result of a traumatic event. As you know, car accidents can easily be very traumatic experiences, and thus, it’s possible to develop PTSD as a result.

Read on to learn five things you should know about car accidents and PTSD.

#1 - Many who experience PTSD due to car accidents don’t notice the symptoms for several weeks after the crash.

You may think PTSD often occurs immediately after a traumatic event, but it is actually more common for people who develop the condition to notice the symptoms several weeks following a distressing occurrence.

#2 - The symptoms of PTSD aren’t always easy to recognize.

Some car accident victims fail to recognize the symptoms of PTSD after a crash because they simply don’t have much experience with the condition. After a car accident, it’s a good idea to closely monitor your mental health for a few months so that if you develop PTSD, you can begin to address it right away.

These are the most common symptoms associated with PTSD:

  • Re-Experiencing Memories
    • This includes flashbacks, intrusive memories about the crash, nightmares, and unwelcome recollections.
  • Avoidance
    • You may be reluctant or completely refuse to drive again. You may also start avoiding talking or thinking about the accident. If this is the case, you may steer clear of any of the following that reminds you of the wreck:
      • People
      • Places
      • Events
  • Mood Swings and Negative Thoughts
    • Your mood changes consistently, but if you have PTSD, you may often feel low, numb, and hopeless. You may also be considerably hard on yourself with overwhelming feelings of guilt or self-loathing. It’s possible that you’ll also feel detached from others, including friends and family. All of this can exacerbate PTSD symptoms.
  • Shifts in Attitudes and Reactions
    • If you have PTSD, you may experience uncharacteristic emotional outbursts, such as:
      • Being startled or frightened easily
      • Anger that is difficult to control
      • Irrational logic
    • You may also experience self-destructive behaviors, including:
      • Making risky decisions
      • Using drugs
      • Drinking too much alcohol

#3 - PTSD is not the same as depression.

PTSD and depression are similar conditions, but they are not the same. However, it’s possible for people with PTSD to also develop depression.

In fact, nearly half of individuals who have or have had PTSD also experience depression.

Similarly, those with PTSD are three to five times more likely to develop depression than those who haven’t experienced PTSD.

#4 - Over a quarter of all car accident victims experience PTSD at least 30 days after being involved in a crash.

Approximately 25-33% of all car accident victims notice the presence of PTSD within the first 30 days after getting into a wreck. Similarly, 7.4% of people in the general population experience PTSD for life. What’s more, car accidents are one of the leading causes of PTSD in the U.S.

#5 - People with PTSD are more likely to develop substance abuse issues.

Men with PTSD are five times more likely to abuse substances compared to the general population. Women with PTSD are nearly one and a half times as likely as the general population to experience substance abuse problems.

If you have developed PTSD as a result of a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be owed compensation. Our team is highly skilled in car accident injury law and has helped many others in similar situations. Let us see if we can help you, too.

Call us today at (866) 675-4427 to have an experienced Stuart personal injury attorney from Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC evaluate your case.