Can You Get PTSD From a Car Accident?

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A traumatic event can lead to a mental health disorder known as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people associate PTSD with military combat and war veterans or recovering from a natural disaster. However, one of the most surprising yet common ways people can develop PTSD is due to a car accident. Getting into a car wreck can cause both mental and physical injuries. PTSD can affect people of any age as a response to a traumatic event like a car accident. Chemical and neuronal changes in the brain can trigger a mental health disorder when you experience a traumatic event where you feel stressed or fearful about an injury or possible death. Our team of Pro-Care car accident doctors is here to help you recover from the physical and mental effects of an auto accident.

How a Car Accident Can Affect You

A car accident can happen suddenly and without warning. One minute you are driving down the road, and the next second, a vehicle slams into your car from behind. The force of impact from the collision is enough to cause car accident injuries. Can a car accident change someone’s personality? The shock of such an unexpected event can send you into a state of shock. Even a minor fender-bender can cause your palms to sweat, your hands to shake, and you may feel dazed or confused. Shock and adrenaline from a car accident can also mask pain symptoms, so you might not even realize you have suffered any physical injuries right away. While some car accident injuries will be more obvious to recognize and diagnose than others, mental health effects can take a while to fully appear.

PTSD Car Accident Symptoms

It is completely normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed after a car accident. From dealing with doctors’ appointments to insurance companies to car repairs, the situation can be a lot to handle. However, you want to keep an eye on your mental health and well-being after a traumatic event like a car accident. What might seem like a temporary increase in anxiety or depression could actually be PTSD from car accident symptoms. While people can experience PTSD differently, here are a few examples of common PTSD car accident symptoms.

Fear or Avoidance of Driving

After a car accident, you may feel reluctant to get behind the wheel again. Some hesitancy and discomfort while driving after a car accident is completely understandable. However, a sign of PTSD after a car accident could be when you continue to find reasons to avoid driving long after the accident occurred. You may also develop a fear of driving, especially going anywhere near where the accident occurred. While avoidance might seem helpful at the time, it can actually be an unhealthy coping mechanism and prevent you from fully living your life.

Changes in Mood or Behavior

PTSD car accident symptoms may also include changes in your mood or behavior. You may feel guilty about the accident, no matter who was at fault. You may also experience excessive worry and distress over any injuries that may have occurred due to the car wreck. PTSD after a car accident can cause you to feel more irritable, suffer sudden bouts of anger, and you may have trouble concentrating. If you are suffering from PTSD after a car accident, you may become less interested in activities you used to love.

Increased Anxiety or Depression

A car accident can also increase symptoms of anxiety or depression. You may experience negative thoughts about yourself and sensitive to reminders of the car accident. Car accident PTSD can also lead to panic attacks, with symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, a racing heart, and even fainting. You may also feel like you are numb or don’t have any emotions. If you have a family history with anxiety or depression, then you may also be more susceptible to an increase in anxiety or depression after a car accident.

Nightmares or Difficulty Sleeping

Car accident PTSD can also cause you to have difficulty sleeping. You may suffer from intrusive memories or nightmares that feel like recurring flashbacks of the traumatic car accident. An increase in anxiety and other effects on mood can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. You may feel more tired during the day and feel like you can’t get enough sleep at night. It is not uncommon to develop insomnia due to PTSD from a car accident.

PTSD Car Accident Treatment

Thankfully, there are many ways to address post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident. PTSD car accident treatment may include connecting your PTSD symptoms with the car accident. Learning more about post-traumatic stress disorder can help you better understand what you are going through and reduce the stigma. You may seek professional help for PTSD car accident treatment, including effective ways to manage anxiety, depression, and other mood and behavior changes after a car accident. Practicing self-care can also help reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident. Just like how physical car accident injuries can take a while to recover from, so can post-traumatic stress disorder. Mental health care and support from your trusted car accident doctor can help you confront your PTSD car accident symptoms and allow you to process your emotions and heal.

Recovering after a Car Accident

You may also be dealing with physical injuries after a car accident. The good news is that you don’t have to manage the stress and pain of PTSD and a car accident injury alone. Our team of car accident doctors at Pro-Care Medical Centers is here to help. With locations in Austin, Cedar Lake, and Houston, we offer quality and comprehensive care to help you recover from a car accident. Visit Pro-Care car accident doctors near you to talk about how you have been feeling both physically and mentally after a car accident. We will provide you with the treatment options and resources necessary so you can have a full recovery. Schedule an appointment at Pro-Care Medical Centers today to get started with a car accident doctor.

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