Post-traumatic stress disorder commonly happens after a stressful or traumatic event. Vehicle accidents rank number one among the causes of PTSD. Stats reveal 6 million motor vehicle accidents occur annually and around 2.5 million involve injuries. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that PTSD develops in around 39.2% of accident survivors.
PTSD risk factors and predictors
Certain factors increase the risk of PTSD. These include experiencing prior trauma, high emotional levels during or after the event, little support after trauma and previous psychological issues.
Motor vehicle accident victims often exhibit these symptoms. However, research has not shown a high correlation between the accident characteristics, such as accident severity, and PTSD. Research does indicate more conclusive evidence of victim responses after accidents.
One study in 2012 indicated that a person thinking their life is in danger can be a predictor for PTSD six months after an accident. Another report revealed avoidance behavior may show two to six months after an accident. This behavior could cause a person to perceive driving is dangerous, which elevates the risk of PTSD from not dealing with emotions.
Signs to look for after accidents
A driver may feel shock, grief and confusion after an auto accident. These emotions are the body’s natural way to handle trauma and should subside with time. Sometimes, these feelings won’t subside quickly, and could possibly get worse. People who witness tragedies can also experience PTSD symptoms and experience some of the same symptoms.
Therapies such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing have been used to treat PTSD. There are also certain medications that may be effective for easing the symptoms.
A car accident victim could file a claim for compensation that may help cover the emotional and physical trauma suffered. A lawyer could help with the process and find out if the at-fault party was negligent. In the meantime, the victim should not delay getting treatment.