Can’t Drive, Won’t Drive – Understanding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder After An Auto Accident

It was just a minor car accident, another car hitting your vehicle’s bumper, but you find yourself refusing to drive your vehicle again. Just the thought of getting behind the wheel makes you feel faint and weak in the knees. Your hands start shaking, and you start sweating profusely. It was just a minor car accident, you tell yourself, so why then do you feel like fainting at the mere thought of driving?

What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

Posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a type of mental problem that has been caused by a terrifying and traumatic incident. Examples of such incidents that can cause PTSD include wars, car accidents, sexual assaults, battery, home break-in and burglary, among others.

People react differently to stressful situations. Some can easily cope with the stress, terror, and anguish the incident caused and bounce back. However, there are some people who find it very difficult to adjust and cope with their lives after the incident. Loud noises could trigger flashbacks of the war, for example, or the accident. Nightmares and recollections of the incident could be very debilitating for them that, instead of going on with their lives and acknowledging that they are safe now, they get stuck in the past, reliving the horror of the event.

Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

The symptoms of PTSD differ from one person to another. Some have flashbacks and nightmares of the event, and this could last for minutes to hours; while some may even suffer through it for days. People suffering from PTSD also tend to withdraw from other people and avoid the things and activities they used to enjoy. In addition to this, the victim feels emotionally drained, hopeless, moody, and quick to anger. He may even indulge in self-destructive habits such as slashing wrists, taking drugs, drinking, smoking, etc. Other symptoms include hallucination and delusion, together with nervousness, sleeping problems, and even memory problems.

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Dealing with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

As mentioned earlier, people react in different ways. A minor rear-end collision may not be that big a deal to some, but for others, it could be very devastating that it begins to affect his day-to-day life and even his relationships with other people.

If you have been in a traumatic auto accident and you are having a hard time dealing with it, then you may be suffering from PTSD. Ask help from your family members, and seek the advice of a professional. The earlier you get treatment for your condition, the better. This is especially true if the symptoms are getting worse and their duration are getting longer.

Treatment for PTSD includes medications that help with depression and anxiety as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy that is focused on trauma. Other treatments include family therapy since family members and people closest to you are also affected by the PTSD. In addition to this, one-on-one and group counseling is also recommended to help you cope with the trauma.

The cost for the PTSD treatment can be expensive, so if you were the victim, not the cause, of the car accident, then you have every right to file a personal injury claim against the other driver. The monetary compensation you receive from winning the case can go to helping you recover from the trauma.

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Jennifer Damien is an article writer for health blogs. She specializes in articles that talk about mental and emotional health. If you want to know more about car accidents, she recommends visiting