When you hear the phrase “car accident” what thoughts come to mind? Do you immediately think of physical injuries and financial concerns that often affect the individuals who are involved in a crash? While these issues are certainly important, the psychological toll of a car accident is often overlooked by most people after the initial shock has faded. This is unfortunate as mental and emotional issues may affect survivors of car accidents for many years after the incident.
One common mental health condition that affects road crash survivors is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, car crashes are the number one cause of PTSD among Americans who are not in the military. There are a number of symptoms associated with PTSD that can severely impair a person’s ability to function each day. Some of these symptoms include:
- Getting flashbacks of the accident
- Having recurring thoughts of the accident
- Avoid the place where the accident occurred
- Developing a fear of driving
When PTSD is left untreated, it can contribute to the development of other mental and emotional challenges such as loneliness, uncontrolled anger, anxiety, and depression. Some individuals with severe PTSD may even consider committing suicide. It is important to remember that PTSD symptoms may not manifest until weeks after the crash. As different people with PTSD may experience different symptoms, it is recommended that car crash survivors work closely with a licensed mental health professional.
A qualified psychiatrist can help car crash victims to work through their mental and emotional distress in a variety of ways. Common therapeutic approaches are listed below:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – to challenge and adjust negative thoughts and emotions
- Behavior modification therapy – to change or reduce maladaptive behaviors
- Family therapy – to help strengthen the victim’s social support network
- Medication – to manage intense symptoms associated with anxiety or depression
If you are concerned about the cost of seeing a psychiatrist after a car crash, you should consider enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can provide professional guidance on how you can include the cost of therapy and medication as part of your injury claim. A personal injury lawyer can also help you to get compensated for non-economic damages such as your pain and suffering.