Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional illness that affects men, women, and children of all ages. PTSD originates when a person endures a horrific or life-threatening event in which they experience intense fear, horror and helplessness. A person suffering from PTSD does not have to be physically injured, but can develop the illness from witnessing a horrendous scene, such as a pedestrian killed by another vehicle. Women are more likely to develop PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD do not develop in a specific pattern. They can begin immediately or be delayed for months or years. According to the American Psychiatric Association, Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Uncontrollable recurrent recollections of the accident
- Recurrent frightening dreams of the accident
- Flashbacks of the accident that invoke a sense that the event is recurring through illusions, hallucinations and reliving the event
- Psychological distress in response to a reminder that is associated with the accident
- Physiological reaction (i.e. compulsive hand washing) to cues that set off associations with the accident
- Avoidance of people, places, thoughts, feelings, conversations and activities that are reminders of the accident
- Partial amnesia of the accident
- Detached feelings towards people
- Feelings that the future is bleak, such as marriage or children or a career are impossible
- Loss of concentration
- Easily startled
- Abnormal awareness of environmental stimuli
- Sleep disturbances
Sufferers of PTSD do not necessarily experience all of the above symptoms. Additionally, the duration of the symptoms exhibited must last longer than one month to be considered PTSD.
Risk factors for PTSD are as follows:
- Survival of or witnessing a serious accident
- Severe injuries or death occurred in the accident
- The PSTD sufferer felt his or her life was in danger, regardless of whether physical injuries were actually sustained
- Driver and/or vehicle passenger anxiety after the accident
- Flashbacks that begin immediately after the accident
- Previous traumatic events
- Underlying depression, anxiety or other mental-health illnesses
- Pursuing a lawsuit connected to the accident.
PTSD is treatable with medication and behavior and cognitive therapy. The earlier the intervention, the more likely recovery will happen within a shorter period of time. Patients who do not seek medical attention may find their symptoms last for months or in excess of a year.
There are four important warning signals for PTSD. The first signal is if the person felt he or she was going to die in the accident. The second indicator is he or she has nightmares or flashbacks about the accident. Thirdly, he or she has difficulties driving or traveling in a vehicle. The last signal is if litigation is anticipated or commenced. If you or a loved one, has suffered from these feelings and difficulties, it is very important to seek medical attention immediately. It is also very important you receive legal advice from a personal injury attorney who was an expertise in dealing with PTSD. A consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial because PTSD adds to the complexity of a lawsuit. For a free consultation, contact our team at 888-244-5480.