Serious and fatal crashes occur on a daily basis on Florida roads and can be a traumatic experience for those involved. In some cases, crash survivors may feel nothing immediately afterward, but the trauma can still set in days later.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cites research indicating that one percent of the population across the US sustains an injury in a crash each year. Research also concludes that about three million injuries annually are related to traffic accidents.
Everyone handles unfortunate situations like this differently. Some are able to shake it off and recover quickly. For others, a serious crash can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What is PTSD?
When we think of PTSD, war veterans may be the first thing that comes to mind. PTSD can affect anyone who has witnessed or been involved in a traumatic event, however. According to the American Psychiatric Association, it impacts approximately 3.5 percent of adults across the US. Moreover, it is estimated that one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime.
The symptoms of PTSD include:
- Vivid flashbacks or reminders of an event
- Anxiety and increased heart rate when reminded of a traumatic event
- Distorted self-beliefs, anger, shame, and fear
- Angry outbursts and irritability
- Avoiding situations and things that may bring back memories of a traumatic event
In order for a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms must persist for more than a month. For some people with PTSD, symptoms may not appear for months after a traumatic event but can last for years if not treated.
What is the prevalence of PTSD after a serious crash?
Research referenced by the Department of Veteran Affairs concludes that nine percent of people who survive serious crashes sustain PTSD. Roughly 60 percent of crash survivors who seek mental health treatment are diagnosed with PTSD. In addition, between 3-53 percent of those diagnosed with PTSD after a crash are also found to have depression, and 27 percent are found to have anxiety.
The risk factors for PTSD following a crash include:
- Pre-existing mental health issues, such as trauma from a prior event, depression, or anxiety
- The seriousness of the crash, including a severe injury, loss of a loved one, or other death
- Rate of recovery, level of support from family and friends, and the ability to cope and readjust to daily life
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, crash survivors with PTSD are at a heightened risk of sustaining another injury or developing chronic pain. That's why seeking immediate medical attention after a crash is important, even if you feel nothing right away.
A medical evaluation may uncover an underlying injury that may not produce immediate symptoms. The earlier crash-related injuries or trauma are identified, the better chance you'll have of getting them successfully treated.
Your recovery could mean prolonged time away from work and costly medical procedures. An experienced Florida car accident attorney at Law Offices of Scott M. Miller, PLLC can help you cover the costs by building a strong case against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve injured motorists in Kissimmee and the surrounding area.