If you’ve been in a serious car accident, you may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a normal reaction to a traumatic event like a bad crash. Each year, millions of people are involved in motor vehicle collisions. They often suffer from PTSD after a car crash.
The good news is PTSD is treatable. Speaking to a mental health professional can help you work through your emotions and find coping strategies. Support groups are also helpful for connecting with others who have had similar experiences.
While PTSD can be severe and long-lasting, many recover with proper treatment and self-care. Be patient with yourself as you heal from this trauma. Reach out for help immediately if symptoms worsen or persist for over a month. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Common Symptoms of PTSD after a Car Crash
After a serious car accident, it’s normal to feel shaken up. As the adrenaline dies down and you come to terms with what happened, your body and mind are continuously processing everything. This might manifest in different ways. These ways can be signs and symptoms of PTSD and not just being shaken up.
These signs and symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Flashbacks and reliving the accident: Having vivid memories, nightmares, or flashbacks of the traumatic event that cause intense distress.
- Anxiety and hyperarousal: Feeling jittery, irritable, having trouble concentrating, or difficulty falling or staying asleep. Loud noises or sirens can trigger anxiety and fear.
- Anger and irritability: Feeling frequent anger, irritability, or rage. Difficulty controlling temper and lashing out at loved ones.
- Depression: Feeling sad, hopeless, or numb for long periods. Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. Difficulty experiencing positive emotions.
- Avoidance: Avoiding anything that reminds you of the traumatic event, like driving or riding in a car. Isolating yourself to avoid triggers that cause distressing memories or feelings related to the accident.
Seeking Treatment: Therapy for PTSD After an Auto Accident
There are several therapeutic options for treating PTSD after a traumatic car accident. Two of the most effective treatments are cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure therapy (PE).
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
CPT helps you learn how to reframe negative thoughts about the trauma into more balanced and positive ones. A therapist will guide you through confronting traumatic memories and challenging unhealthy thought patterns. CPT usually involves 12 weekly sessions.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)
PE involves gradually re-exposing yourself to the traumatic memory in a controlled setting. The goal is to help desensitize you to the distressing memory and teach you coping strategies. PE often involves 8-15 weekly sessions with a therapist. Studies show PE can effectively reduce PTSD symptoms after a motor vehicle accident.
Other options include:
- Animal Therapy: Interacting with service animals can help reduce anxiety and provide comfort. Horses are commonly used in equine therapy for PTSD.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR uses eye movements to help process traumatic memories and reduce their emotional impact. EMDR may be used alone or combined with CPT or PE.
The first step is speaking with a mental health professional about your symptoms and treatment options. While PTSD can be a chronic condition, the good news is there are many effective therapies and strategies for managing symptoms and learning to heal from trauma.
With time and proper treatment, you can overcome PTSD.
Seeking Help From HURT 911 After Your Accident
After a traumatic car accident, don’t hesitate to seek help from HURT 911 Injury Centers. Our specialized doctors can properly assess your injuries and ensure you get the treatment you need. We also work with top-rated personal injury lawyers and can help you find an attorney for your case.
Our doctors work on a lien basis, meaning we get paid once your accident case settles and no health insurance is required. Call us today at 855-475-2588 or 1-800-HURT911. You can also contact us through our website.