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Accident Victims Can Suffer From PTSD-Know the Symptoms


There once was a time when people thought that PTSD was a condition that was not legitimate—that it was just people “overreacting” to situations. As time went on, we tended to believe that PTSD was real, but was nothing more than a more serious form of anxiety. Now, however, the medical community finally realizes what so many victims have long known: PTSD is real, serious, and in some situations, can be debilitating.

Accidents and PTSD

PTSD can be caused by a number of traumatic events, but one such event is involvement in a car or other type of accident. With respect to car accidents, there is even a term called motor vehicle accident related PTSD.

Many professionals still struggle to differentiate PTSD symptoms with those of other kinds of disorders that manifest with similar symptoms. Additionally, symptoms are not entirely consistent—many people with PTSD may have varying symptoms, and varying severity of the condition.

Common lingo doesn’t help either, as the more common, generic use of the word “PTSD” has meant that its definition is even further confused in the minds of the general public.

A Real Diagnosis

PTSD is a recognized psychiatric disease, with its own criteria and diagnostic checklists. And unlike generalized anxiety, PTSD must be triggered by a specific event.

You may already know that catastrophes like war, or anything that imminently threatens bodily harm to people or their loved ones, is enough to trigger PTSD, as is sexual assault or sexual violations. But accidents can trigger PTSD as well.

Recognize the Signs

The signs and symptoms of PTSD, no matter what the cause, can include constant reliving or replaying of the event in the person’s mind, even to the point that he or she is unable to function. The person may ruminate on memories of the traumatic event.

People may avoid situations that remind them of the traumatic event. The avoidance must be irrational.

For example, you may have heard of soldiers who avoid fireworks because it reminds them of war; this seems irrational-the victims logically know fireworks aren’t guns–but the anxiety and fear are there nonetheless.

Accident victims do the same thing and may avoid stores because they fell in similar stores, or they may avoid intersections where they crashed—some may try to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car at all, causing them to miss work or be unable to carry out their daily activities.

Another common symptom of PTSD is the constant feeling of being hyper aware, or “on edge.” People with PTSD may have a hard time focusing on work related tasks, or they may feel fatigue, being so alert at all times.

Both the alertness, and the reliving of events on the victim’s minds, can lead to a loss of sleep, which in turn can cause other health problems, not to mention the inability to do certain kinds of work.

Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today if you have symptoms of PTSD after an accident; we can help you get compensation for what you are going through.


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