Car crashes are quite common, but that doesn’t mean they are minor experiences. People can suffer life-altering injuries, not all of which are physical. A collision could leave you in fear for your life, suffering from extreme pain or traumatized by witnessing the death of someone else.
According to research, car crashes are among the top causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in people across the United States. Unlike PTSD that results from military service, which people tend to expect, PTSD related to car crashes doesn’t receive much acknowledgment.
If you or a loved one recently experienced a major crash, you probably need to watch for some of the warning signs of PTSD.
Stress from trauma can manifest in many different ways
Everybody’s brain and life experiences are different, so PTSD manifests differently in every individual who develops the condition. One of the more common symptoms of PTSD involves reliving powerful memories, almost like you have experienced the crash all over again.
Some people have overwhelming, vivid memories triggered by sounds, smells or even seeing a car crash in a movie. Others have horrific nightmares that wake them up and affect their daily life by leaving them fatigued.
PTSD also often leads to an aversion to situations that people find triggering. Someone with PTSD from a crash may not want to travel in a car at all or may insist on only traveling on surface roads so that the speed stays low. If they were a passenger, they may insist on driving or vice versa.
PTSD can also look like withdrawal from personal relationships, depression and anxiety that affect someone’s career or unexpected and unpredictable emotional outbursts.
PTSD can affect every aspect of your life
The trauma of a car crash can bleed through into almost every other part of your life. It could damage your marriage, impact your career and end some of your closest friendships. The counseling and therapy necessary to recover from PTSD can be quite expensive. Individuals often need a combination of group support and individual counseling, often for years to fully recover.
Understanding how PTSD affects people after a car crash can help you deal with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit after a collision.