A car accident can be a traumatic event. Even when accident victims are not physically injured, they can suffer from symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for weeks, months and even years after the incident. PTSD is often not diagnosed by medical personnel at the scene or in the aftermath, leaving accident victims to suffer from embarrassing, frightening and debilitating symptoms without relief.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
It is normal to experience a period of unstable emotion following an accident. Some people have difficulty sleeping or find they cry more easily following a traumatic event. If these symptoms progress or persist for more than a month, it is important to seek treatment.
Symptoms of trauma do not necessarily appear immediately following an accident, so the victim might not make the connection right away. Symptoms include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Change in eating patterns
- Reliving the traumatic event
- Inability to return to the location or the activity associated with event
- Generalized anxiety
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal ideation
Sufferers of PTSD are often unable to perform in the workplace, drive, maintain normal routine functioning or sustain intimate relationships. They become increasingly fearful and anxious, and their inability to function normally is increasingly impaired. In some cases, symptoms might disappear for long periods only to reappear in a stressful situation or when reminded of the incident that caused the trauma.
Help for PTSD sufferers
Treatment for PTSD is available, and many sufferers who pursue treatment are able to return to normal functioning. Effective treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation exercises, and medications for depression and anxiety.
If you have been in an accident and you continue to suffer from the effects of trauma, contact a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney. A consultation can focus on your specific needs following the accident.