It should be no surprise that car accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries, brain trauma, and whiplash of certain degrees. However, the psychological damage of auto collisions can be the same, and sometimes more dangerous than the physical pain they leave behind. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States according to the American Psychological Association. If left untreated, PTSD can affect a person’s life, including their career and personal relationships. In addition to contacting a car accident lawyer, visit a doctor to determine a treatment plan for your PTSD.
What to be on the Lookout For
Car accidents are scary events, it’s not uncommon to experience a few PTSD symptoms, such as the following:
- Honking horns or screeching brakes can lead to a fear response
- Increased anxiety when being reminded of the car accident
- Feeling on edge while driving
- Hesitation to drive on highways and willingness to avoid driving altogether
- Increased likelihood to excessively look for threats on the road
Although all these symptoms are naturally occurring, keep in mind that they will go away in time. Simply put, it’s your body’s way of dealing with the traumatic event and you should let it run its course. However, if you feel the need to visit a therapist or doctor, we suggest you do so. In fact, if you feel you are especially at risk of developing PTSD, we recommend you consult a doctor immediately following the accident.
Typically, a combination of medication and therapy is used to treat post-traumatic stress. With these two treatment methods, patients can manage the symptoms of PTSD and head down the path to full recovery. Most often, doctors recommend two types of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy.
Cognitive behavior therapy is designed to help people identify and alter the irrational thoughts that cause PTSD. Your therapist is there to help you replace the irrational thoughts with more accurate and less stressful ones. You will also learn about techniques you can use to manage depression, guilt, fear, and anger.
The goal of exposure therapy is to alter the way that you react to the traumatic memories of your car accident. During this kind of therapy, you will discuss your accident openly with a therapist. Though this may be challenging at first, it will become easier over time. Eventually, you will learn not to be scared or anxious about stressful memories.
Medications Can Help
It is not uncommon for people experiencing PTSD to also feel anxious and depressed. Many doctors recommend medications to help handle these feelings. Antidepressants like SSRIs can aid in limiting these feelings and helping you handle them in the short term.
Attending group therapy sessions is another common treatment for PTSD. This is a common disorder and connecting with others who have experienced similar things in the past can be very helpful. Group therapy can help you handle your traumatic memories, depression, and other symptoms. It can also make you feel more comfortable talking about your PTSD as well.
If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being involved in a car accident, a car accident lawyer may be able to help you. You should not need to pay for your treatment out of your pocket.
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