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Can You Get PTSD From a Car Accident?

After being involved in a major accident with serious injuries, it is common to suffer temporary feelings of anxiety and fear as you process the memories of the event and the physical pain. When these feelings last for months or longer, it may be something more serious.

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder, and it is typically characterized by strong feelings of anxiety after a traumatic incident. It can be outright crippling for some people, and it usually alters someone’s quality of life. Do not assume that just because someone did not suffer serious physical injury in an accident that they did not endure psychological trauma.

PTSD differs from the normal anxiety you might understandably have after an accident. Anxiety with PTSD does not go away, but it will actually increase with time. Some people even become afraid to leave their house.

One way to explain PTSD is that your “fight or flight” stress response has gone awry so that you feel anxious, pressured, or afraid for a long time after the accident. Some people who develop PTSD are npt even the ones involved in the accident. It is not uncommon for emergency personnel, witnesses, or law enforcement officers to be affected by PTSD in some cases.

Elements That can Aggravate PTSD

Some factors surrounding the accident may increase the odds that a survivor will develop PTSD. These include:

  • The death of anyone involved in the accident, especially family members or close friends;
  • The severity of the injuries, like multiple fractures or an amputation;
  • How long it takes you to recover from the accident; or
  • Whether the accident was life-threatening and triggered a fear of dying.

Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD may manifest themselves in a variety of ways, but there are several main sets of symptoms. These include:

  • Reliving the trauma: This can include flashbacks, nightmares, and persistent memories that affect your daily life. You may experience sudden physical reactions like sweating, shaking, and crying.
  • Avoiding the trauma: This is when you avoid trying to think about the accident and stay away from any type of activity that makes you relive it. This can include stopping normal activities that used to bring you joy, thereby isolating yourself. You can wind up feeling numb, and unable to feel any enjoyment.
  • Constant anxiety: You may feel constantly anxious, like you are on “red alert” and in constant danger. Sleep can be difficult, and you may find yourself lashing out at other people with little to no provocation. You may be startled easily and not able to concentrate.

Retaining a Personal Injury Attorney

If you have a claim for PTSD, you need to seek treatment from a qualified mental health professional, support group, treatment center, etc. And, if your PTSD was caused by a vehicle accident, you need to speak with a qualified Maryland personal injury attorney who can help determine whether you have a valid PTSD claim. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200.

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