You have probably heard about post-traumatic stress disorder or shell shock as it was called years ago, as it relates to people who have survived wars, have been injured in a terrorist attack, have survived a natural disaster, or have been affected by a crime, just to name a few examples. You may even be familiar with someone who is experiencing the effect of PTSD. What you may have never thought about is that being involved in a car accident can also result in PTSD for the people involved.
If you have been in a car accident and are having a hard time understanding what you are feeling and why you don’t seem to be the same person you were before the crash, you may have PTSD. Read on to discover some tips on dealing with and overcoming PTSD after a car accident.
How common is PTSD after a car accident?
These days, car crashes are the main cause of PTSD in the general population. Since there are some 6 million collisions every year in the US, with 2.5 million injuries, it has been estimated that about 40% of survivors develop PTSD.
Are there factors that increase the probability of PTSD?
Studies have shown that there are some factors that seem to be associated with an increased risk of developing PTSD. Among them:
- A family history of psychopathology
- Dissociation around the time of the traumatic event or immediately after
- Having prior experiences with trauma
- A lack of social support after the accident
- Experiencing very strong emotions during or right after the event. These can be helplessness, fear, guilt, shame, or others
- A perceived threat to your life or to the life of those around you
Tips on overcoming PTSD after your accident
If you are suffering from the effects of PTSD, there is no need to go through this on your own. Fortunately, there are several important resources available to you at this time. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Learn about PTSD. By reading about your condition, you can not only understand more about it, but you can also define what you are feeling and learn how other people have dealt with what you are going through. You can read about coping mechanisms and find a community of people that have experienced a similar situation.
- Contact your doctor. There are many medical and therapeutical avenues open to you when it comes to dealing with PTSD. Talk to your doctor about what you are experiencing and have them recommend the most appropriate treatment for you.
- Join a support group. A support group will immediately put you in touch with others that can understand what you are going through and identify with it. They also offer you an open and safe place to discuss your experience with others. Other group members may share coping techniques that have worked well for them, treatments that have beneficial, and give you the support you need. You can find a support group that is free or has a nominal fee to join.
If you are suffering from PTSD, 1-800-Injured wants to remind you that everyone’s journey is different, and if you need legal help to recover the costs of your treatment, you should talk to an accident attorney right away.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.