A car accident is an inherently traumatic experience. Then, it makes sense that many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This diagnosis could mean drastic changes to your life, career, health, and finances. To understand how to navigate the aftermath, here’s what you should know about car-crash-related PTSD.
Recognizing PTSD and Getting the Help You Need
Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs when the experience of a traumatic event causes symptoms that significantly disrupt your life. According to Mayo Clinic, common symptoms include:
- Distress at reminders
- Intrusive memories
- Avoidance of topics or activities
- Memory problems
- Lack of interest
- Detachment and isolation
- Being on edge
- Sleep disruptions
- Emotional problems
- Self-destructive behavior
PTSD manifests differently in each person, depending on the kind of car accident you suffered, injuries you sustained, and your own mental health history. If you lost a loved one in the accident, that could contribute to your distress. Likewise, severe collisions could lead to fires or life-threatening medical diagnoses, cited by Mayo Clinic as triggering events.
Following trauma, everyone can experience stress and fear, but PTSD symptoms can last for months or years. The National Center for PTSD stresses the importance of seeking help if you experience upsetting symptoms for months and they have disrupted your life. Recognizing and treating this disorder can be crucial to restoring peace and consistency to your everyday routine.
How PTSD Is Diagnosed
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), you must have experienced symptoms for at least one month to warrant a PTSD diagnosis, including at least:
- One re-experiencing symptom
- One avoidance symptom
- Two arousal and reactivity symptoms
- Two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms are flashbacks or recurring memories. Avoidance symptoms involve changing your routine to avoid places or events related to the experience. Arousal and reactivity symptoms refer to being on edge, easily frightened, or reckless. Cognition and mood symptoms can include feeling isolated, shame, guilt, or experiencing distorted thoughts and memory trouble.
NIH reports that kids and teens may have a different experience with PTSD. For instance, they may suddenly wet the bed despite being potty-trained. A trained psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker can help navigate these different symptoms and know what to do with a PTSD diagnosis in a car crash victim who is a minor.
How PTSD Is Treated
Your PTSD treatment will depend on the symptoms you struggle with and how they affect your life. You may need to try several options or combine tactics to find a treatment plan that works for you.
Some forms of treatment include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Prolonged exposure (PE)
- Group therapy
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Antipsychotic medication
- Alternative therapies
A trained medical professional can help determine the best plan for tackling your disorder.
Other Options for Healing and Financial Recovery
PTSD is a stress disorder, meaning it is your body’s way of reacting to a stressful event—the automobile accident. That incident was traumatic enough on its own for you to suffer from intrusive and disruptive symptoms. You should not have to deal with additional stressors, like worrying about your medical care and other bills.
This is where our PTSD lawyers come in. At D. Miller & Associates PLLC™, we can take over the logistics of your accident and explore every avenue for paying your bills and losses, either through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Generally, that includes:
- Gathering evidence
- Talking to involved parties
- Reviewing settlement offers
- Explaining your options
- Filing paperwork
- Keeping you updated
Knowing what to do after car-accident-related PTSD involves more than just understanding your condition. You should also know your rights. Our team can provide that information and form an action plan. Any of the main causes of car accidents could have resulted in your PTSD.
Insurance companies, attorneys, and juries like to see concrete evidence of injuries from car accidents before awarding financial recovery. This can prove challenging for victims with mental health conditions like PTSD. Nonetheless, we can help build a body of evidence that illustrates what you have experienced using:
- Medical records
- Work history
- Expert testimony
For instance, a record of your visits to a psychiatrist or psychologist establishes that you have experienced consistent symptoms. That same psychiatrist can testify about their diagnosis. Furthermore, if your PTSD has disrupted your ability to do your job, employment records can showcase those struggles.
Other evidence can round out the picture. We can mention if you use a support animal. We can also point to your physical injuries to illustrate the severity of the accident, emphasizing the likelihood that you would suffer from psychological trauma.
Learn More about Your Options Following a PTSD Diagnosis
The team at D. Miller & Associates PLLC™ can offer more information on what to know after being diagnosed with car-crash-related PTSD. We can help with the logistics of pursuing financial recovery and support you throughout the process.
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