You can walk away from a motor vehicle accident without a broken bone, scar or even a bruise. Yet, your mental and emotional health might still be at serious risk.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be devastating for victims of motor vehicle accidents. Symptoms may not develop for weeks or months, long after crash victims thought they were safe.
Some victims develop a fear response. They might feel edgy and jumpy whenever they are in a vehicle. A reminder of their accident, such as the sound of screeching brakes, can cause anxiety or a panic attack.
Some drivers react by becoming more watchful of their surroundings. They think they are being more careful and feel safer. The truth is, they overreact to the innocent actions of other motorists. They can cause more trouble than they avoid.
Other drivers retreat into a shell that makes their lives more difficult. They may, for example, avoid highway driving.
Exposure therapy helps people confront their fears. Working in a safe environment, psychologists “expose” patients to what frightens them.
Behavior therapy and cognitive therapy work similarly as doctors identify self-destructive and unhealthy behaviors. Behavior therapy focuses on helping patients address their issues in a different manner. Cognitive therapy teaches patients to change their thinking patterns and their responses.
Medications are another option for treating fear and anxiety. They include Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft) and Venlafaxine (Effexor).
One of the most important things to remember is that you do not have to face PTSD alone. While it is common for many who suffer from PTSD to withdraw from family and friends, these compassionate interactions can have a dramatic effect on your recovery. You may also find it helpful to discuss your feelings and symptoms in a support group with people who have had similar traumatic experiences.
PTSD victims face many obstacles. Your injuries are not obvious to the naked eye, yet are very real. You need a strategy that defends your rights and secures fair compensation.