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Recognizing the signs of PTSD after a car crash

People often associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with soldiers who've been in combat zones and people who have witnessed mass shootings like the ones we've seen all too often in recent years. However, victims of car crashes can also be left with PTSD -- sometimes long after their physical injuries have healed.

Car crashes can be traumatic events. Like any trauma, they can lead to PTSD. Some people are more likely to develop PTSD than others. That's why it's essential that victims of "single-incident" traumas are properly screened for PTSD and, if necessary, get treatment.

No one should try to diagnose themselves or a loved one. However, it's important to be able to recognize some of the symptoms of PTSD. These include:

  • Changes in the way they see the world. For example, sometimes people who have survived a car crash are afraid to drive or even get in a vehicle again.
  • Increased anxiety around things that didn't make them nervous before. This is also referred to as hyperarousal. After a car crash, this symptom can also manifest in a fear of getting behind the wheel.
  • Repetitive thinking about the traumatic event or re-experiencing it in flashbacks and nightmares. Sometimes, a sound or sight can bring an event back all too clearly.
  • Emotional numbing/avoidance. This is when someone can't go back to the place were a trauma occurred or even a situation that reminds them of the event. Sometimes, they can't be around the people who were there.

All these symptoms of PTSD and others can seriously impact a person's ability to live their lives as they did before the event or as they need to going forward. That's why it's essential to get help from a therapist who is trained to deal with victims of PTSD. This help may be required for months and possibly years.

If you're seeking compensation via a lawsuit against one or more parties responsible for the crash or other incident that caused your PTSD, it's essential to factor in the cost of not just your medical treatment but the psychological care you need as well. It's not a frivolous expense. It's a necessary part of the healing process.

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