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Could you develop PTSD after a car accident?

Whether you had time to see it coming or not, when the accident happened, your life changed in those precious seconds. It can be difficult to forget the sounds and smells that accompanied the crash. Just getting back into a car afterward may cause serious anxiety. In fact, you may even get nauseous and feel like throwing up. You could experience a rush of adrenaline and want nothing more than to get out of the vehicle.

If this scenario is familiar to you, you aren't alone. Many people here in Southern California and elsewhere feel the same way after surviving a serious accident. While some are able to move on, you may not have that experience. You may struggle to get past the event, and now the trauma stays with you to a point where it interferes with your life.

Are you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder?

PTSD doesn't follow a predictable pattern for most people. It could take weeks for you to manifest the symptoms that indicate you suffer from more than just temporary trepidation after the accident. Perhaps your focus was on healing your body, so you didn't have time to consider your mental health, but now that you are on the road to recovery, it hits you. Your first indications that something is wrong could be due to the following:

  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You experience gastrointestinal issues.
  • You may have difficulty concentrating.
  • You may experience headaches.
  • You may find yourself nauseous often.
  • You could feel anxious and fearful a majority of the time.
  • Your fight or flight response could be in overdrive.
  • You may find yourself experiencing anger, frustration, depression and other emotions you don't typically have.
  • You could withdraw emotionally.
  • You may have nightmares.
  • You avoid getting into a vehicle when you can.
  • You avoid anything that reminds you of the accident.

Even though these are not the only signs of PTSD, these are some of the more common ones. If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the above, it would be wise to find some help before it gets worse.

If your accident resulted from the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you may pursue compensation for your financial and other losses incurred in the aftermath of the crash, including for your PTSD.

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