Are You Suffering from PTSD After a Gainesville Car Accident?

Car accidents can cause physical and mental injuries. While most accident victims seek treatment for their physical injuries, many people ignore their accidents’ effect on their mental and emotional health.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise after any traumatic event, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents

Serious accidents like these may cause your brain’s defense mechanisms to kick into high gear to protect you from further trauma. But this overreaction can affect your life in profound and unwanted ways.

Curious about how PTSD might affect a car accident claim in Gainesville? Read on to learn more.

How Does PTSD Happen?

The brain’s stress response system plays a critical role in keeping humans alive. When humans face a threat to their lives or safety, their brains prepare their bodies to fight, flee, or freeze. This fight/flight/freeze response turns the emotion of fear into a physical response.

When this impulse is triggered, your heart rate, respiration rate, and blood pressure might increase. This prepares the muscles to fight or run. Your pupils dilate so that your eyes can detect the slightest motion. Your bladder and bowels might even empty to lighten the burden of your body, preparing you to flee or fight.

After you get into a car accident, your brain tries to prepare you to avoid similar trauma. In time, this might mean that you start to react (or overreact) to triggers that remind you of the car accident.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Doctors classify PTSD as an anxiety disorder. When you have PTSD after an accident, it means that your brain experiences persistent feelings of anxiousness, worry, and fear resulting from your trauma.

PTSD produces many symptoms, including:

Intrusive Memories

Your brain replays the traumatic event without warning. You might have nightmares and flashbacks of the accident. Similar settings or events might cause you to relive the trauma.

Altered Reactions

Your brain will change how it reacts to perceived threats. You might become hypervigilant or even paranoid. This heightened state might cause difficulties concentrating or lead to sleep disorders.

You might overreact to triggers that remind you of the accident. These overreactions might include panic attacks or violent outbursts.

You could experience guilt or shame over the accident, particularly if someone died. You might obsess over whether you could have avoided the accident.

Avoidance

Your brain may try to protect you from being involved in another accident by leading you to avoid triggers. You might avoid the original scene of the accident or the people who were with you when the accident happened. You may also avoid talking about the accident or block out memories of it.

Negative Feelings

You might develop strong negative emotions and pessimism about the future. You might isolate yourself from friends and family.

PTSD can also lead to a number of complications. Suicidal thoughts, depression, and social anxiety can develop from PTSD. Some people with PTSD attempt to self-medicate using alcohol or illegal drugs.

How Do Doctors Treat PTSD?

PTSD will likely require mental health counseling and therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you to effectively process the trauma so that your brain can stop dwelling on it. You can then manage the symptoms consciously rather than experiencing them on a subconscious level.

Your doctor and therapist might also recommend medication to control any resulting anxiety or depression.

Compensation for PTSD After a Car Accident

You can seek compensation for mental and emotional injuries after a car accident. The only obstacle is proving causation. But for PTSD, your doctor or therapist can tie the trauma of the car accident to your PTSD diagnosis.

To ensure that you receive fair compensation for PTSD, you should:

  • Document your symptoms with your doctor
  • Seek treatment from a therapist or counselor
  • Take time off of work if it’s necessary for your recovery
  • Ask friends and family members to testify about your symptoms

If you document your injury, you could receive compensation to cover your medical bills and lost income while you recover from your injury.