All accidents are traumatic events, and if you have ever witnessed or been involved in one, you know how daunting they can be. This article talks about the unseen consequences of accidents.
Accidents, regardless of their causes and kind, can cause serious injuries and distress for all parties involved. You don’t have to be at fault in the accident to feel the trauma associated with the accident itself, and suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder has several symptoms depending on the individuality of the accident and how you react to stress.
However, you, like many other accident victims, may discover that PTSD harms your ability to function and handle daily chores. If you think you may experience emotional or psychological trauma after an accident, consider speaking with a healthcare specialist and personal injury solicitor to provide you with solutions to treat your symptoms and gain compensation.
What is PTSD?
You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder after you experience a traumatic incident. The common misconception is that only soldiers suffer from this mental health condition, but in reality, everyone who has a traumatic event or suffers a life-threatening accident can struggle with PTSD symptoms afterwards.
Immediately after the accident, you may find it challenging to fall asleep or rest at night and struggle to complete daily activities. However, you don’t necessarily suffer from emotional or psychological trauma if you cannot immediately return to your normal schedule or have substantial physical injuries. However, if your symptoms linger for a couple of weeks or months, you should see a healthcare specialist to assess your condition.
Development of trauma
People are psychologically conditioned to avoid the situations their brains perceive as dangerous or harmful. Therefore, when you’re exposed to harmful situations, you often show an aversion response to avoid similar incidents in the future. Any kind of accident can be described as a harmful situation.
- It’s common to develop some psychological symptoms associated with trauma after an accident.
- It’s normal to have an aversion to situations similar to that that triggered your injuries for a while.
- It’s also normal to be startled when you hear a sound resembling the moment of the accident or when something unexpected happens that reminds you of the accident.
- These responses are natural fears connected to the accident. Your mind tells you to be careful and watchful to ensure you don’t experience another injury.
When the symptoms interfere with your daily activities and make it challenging to enjoy your life, you may wish to consider getting professional help.
Development of PTSD
Sometimes, and for some people, an accident can cause lasting and troubling consequences. Often, the post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from an accident is characterised by the following symptoms:
- You relieve the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks
- You’re irritable
- You’re anxious
- You have trouble sleeping
- You’re easily startled
- You try to avoid everything that reminds you of the event
- You often feel cut off from the world
- You feel numb
Suppose you had an accident and developed some of the above symptoms or you haven’t felt like yourself, you may want to seek help from a professional. Your healthcare specialist can recommend some treatment solutions and create a plan to provide you with the needed support to recover and move through this challenging period.
Another thing you can do if you have been in an accident that left you anxious, scared, and shaken is to hire a personal injury solicitor specialised in accidents at work to help you get compensation for your mental and physical injuries.
Common symptoms of PTSD
How can you tell for sure if you have PTSD? Some individuals have severe symptoms, while others experience only some minor ones and can control them without therapy or complex treatment. Here is a list of common symptoms of PTSD to help you figure out if you should get in touch with a mental health specialist.
1. You have nightmares
After a severe accident (at the workplace, in a car crash, in a public space), you may struggle with strangely vivid nightmares that keep you awake at night and leave you feeling like your dreams could transport you directly to the moment of the accident. You wake up shouting, shaking, or struggling when you have these nightmares. Sometimes you wake up feeling a rush of adrenaline in your veins and your heart pounding hard against your chest.
You may or may not remember these dreams; it depends on how your brain handles the accident. However, even if you only wake up with the vague impression that you dreamt something awful, you still struggle to rest and get back to sleep following these instances.
You may remember your accident only when dreaming, or its memory might follow you into the waking world. If you have PTSD, you may have flashbacks of the incident. Reminders of the event could trigger flashbacks (a sound, passing past the scene, similar weather). Or you may have flashbacks with no noticeable triggers that take you back to the accident scene without warning.
3. You avoid reminders
Following your accident, you may want to avoid anything remotely reminding you of the event. Understandably, you try to stay away from triggers to keep nightmares and flashbacks at bay. If the accident left you with PTSD, you might choose to avoid the people involved in the accident, stay away from the site of the accident, or be afraid to engage in extreme situations.
4. Increased irritability or agitation
If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, you may become irritated or agitated more easily than you used to do before the accident. Your partner or children may tell you that you snap at them more often or you have less tolerance for things that don’t usually bother you. You may discover that you’re anxious over things that didn’t affect you before, or you’re agitated with instances that made you feel comfortable before.
Remember that this is your personal journey, and you should treat yourself kindly because all accidents are traumatic events that impact you in more than one way.
Also read: Top Tips on What to Do After a Car Accident