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Post-Traumatic Stress After a Car Accident

You can still hear the metal crushing and see the blood gushing from an open wound. As much as you may try to push those horrify moments out of your head, they refuse to go away. Over six million car accidents occur in the United States alone each year. Millions of those survivors are left to deal with the mental distress that comes along with such a horrible experience. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common amongst victims of car accidents; in fact car crashes are the leading cause of PTSD worldwide.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after a person has experienced extreme trauma or life threatening events. Individuals suffering from PTSD tend to re-experience the traumatic events; they try to avoid people, places and events that remind them of that specific incident. They are also hypersensitive to normal life experiences and activities.

Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder vary from person to person. It also manifests in different ways for people. For some individuals it surfaces in nightmares, in others they may get nervous in crowded areas and some people even experience hallucinations. Symptoms of PTSD caused by an accident:

  • Constantly reliving or re-experiencing the accident. Certain noises or events may trigger the memory and you may feel the same fear, pain and panic that you did in that moment. Triggers may include a blaring horn or an ambulance siren.
  • You may avoid situations that remind you of your accident. You may avoid riding in or operating a car ever again.
  • Inability to sleep, constant alertness and paranoia
Effects of PTSD

PTSD can also have significant physical effects. They are prone to develop unhealthy habits such as alcoholism, smoking and drug use which can lead to a host of medical problems:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Obesity

Sufferers of PTSD are also six times more likely to commit suicide than the average person and some develop the tendency to deliberately harm themselves through cutting or burning themselves.

People with post-traumatic stress disorder also have a hard time maintaining healthy relationships. They are more socially inept and tend to isolate themselves. Its not unusual for individuals with PTSD to have troubled marriages, tumultuous friendships and trouble developing intimate relationships. They also have a hard time in the workplace. Symptoms associated with PTSD such as sleep deprivation and trouble focusing affects their ability to work efficiently. They may miss work a lot and make more errors on the job.

Normal Feelings or PTSD?

Of course after being in a car accident is normal to experience shock, grief, and have trouble sleeping. In fact for a few months after the incident you may still feel uneasy about driving or riding in vehicles, nightmares of what happened and trouble sleeping. When these feeling persist and they start to affect the quality of your life or your ability to function normally; these are sure signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.