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Psychological Fallout From Motor Vehicle Accidents Can Last a Long Time

Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2018 at 3:33 am    

Few people would disagree with the fact that serious motor vehicle accidents can be highly stressful. What many might not realize just how pervasive the psychological effects of an accident can be. The scars of a frightening crash and the subsequent injuries can last for a life time for a minority of crash victims, although this only seems to apply to less than 15% of cases.

The main long term psychological effects of a motor vehicle accident (MVA) are depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although depression and anxiety are well enough known amongst the general public, PTSD is usually associated with war veterans who have experienced terrible events, either involving themselves or others during combat. It seems that the experience of a major MVA is just as likely to lead to the development of PTSD after recovery from the physical injuries caused by an accident. PTSD rarely disappears completely but can resurface at unpredictable times. In effect it is a long term, possibly life time, burden caused in many cases by the negligent actions of another driver.

Symptoms of PTSD

The term is quite well known but few people who have not experienced terrible events and their psychological aftermath are aware of what exactly is involved. PTSD is an extremely complex mental health issue and is not always easily diagnosed or treated.

After experiencing terrible events, the human mind develops an ability to cope with the memory of the fear and terror that has been witnessed. The common symptoms that may be felt include:

  • nightmares;
  • flashbacks;
  • uncontrollable thoughts;
  • severe anxiety.

It seems that in many people these symptoms tend to fade with time, but in a minority of cases they do not. This can become PTSD. The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) has studied PTSD development after major motor vehicle accidents and has found that PTSD symptoms tend to include emotional numbness  a way of avoiding memories of the accident), refusing to take up driving again, refusing to talk about the accident, insomnia, extreme levels of anxiety and flashes of irritability.

PTSD can be treated – the earlier the better

MVA injury victims who show any of the symptoms described above are encouraged to seek mental health treatment as early as possible. Support from family and friends to encourage reaching out for psychological treatment is valuable, especially because there may be a tendency to try and ignore that the feelings are causing harm as noted above.

Treatment for PTSD has been shown to be effective. The best treatment involves therapy before PTSD sets in. If PTSD is already diagnosed, then Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be effective.

Unfortunately, MVA victims are often forced to try and seek compensation for their injuries, especially when they were not to blame for the accident. The extra psychological stress of litigation does not help PTSD treatment, but on the other hand, recognition of the psychological effects of the accident can help to provide adequate funding for psychological; treatment.

You may be able to claim for PTSD treatment

If you have been involved in an accident, and are beginning to experience strange thoughts, anxiety depression, insomnia or any other unusual feelings even after physical recovery, you should seek psychological help as soon as you can.  You may be entitled to claim compensation for the cost of effective psychological treatment as part of a personal injury lawsuit filed against the person who was responsible for the accident. Talk to one of our car accident attorneys at the Patino Law Firm in McAllen, Texas. We will provide a free consultation to discuss your case and work on contingency so there is no need to pay upfront legal fees if we represent you legally. Ring (956) 631-3535 for an appointment.