June is National PTSD Awareness Month
Classified as a serious psychological disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects those that experience severe and often traumatic events such as the devastation of war or a natural disaster. A car accident also can be so unnerving that the crash victim experiences PTSD symptoms long after the event itself. We observe June as National PTSD Awareness Month, where we raise recognize the symptoms of PTSD and how to get treated for this mental disorder that can affect anyone at any age.
PTSD can happen after you experience or witness a trauma and derives itself from how your mind reacts to that trauma. A car accident is just one of many impacting events that can cause PTSD. PTSD can be triggered by the sudden violence of an event, like a car crash, as well as the injuries you may suffer as a result. Other examples include physical or sexual assault, a near-death experience, or another life-threatening event. When someone suffers PTSD following a car accident, they could be compensated for it through an accident claim with the help of a car accident lawyer.
There are many symptoms for PTSD that differ with each person, such as:
- Anger: Anger can come in many forms, whereas people who suffer from PTSD may struggle with anger differently. Lashing out can occur and can be triggered by an event either similar to the trauma they experienced, or it could not.
- Anxiety: Similar to flashbacks, anxiety can occur when the trauma victim replays the moment over and over and struggles to think about anything else. They may wonder how they could have prevented the accident or if there is someone to blame, overthinking the event to perhaps the point of obsession. Anxiety can exist with depression, and can increase by going out in public, being around others, or simply occur without any obvious trigger.
- Avoidance: This PTSD symptom occurs when the individual who suffered the traumatic event begins to avoid people or places that simply remind them of the trauma. A person who almost drowned may never want to be near the ocean or even a pool again, or a person who suffered sexual abuse at a young age may continue to feel threatened by the presence of older males.
- Depression: Depression is another key symptom of PTSD, and it can occur immediately or long after the traumatic event. Feelings of hopelessness and sadness would interfere with a person’s daily life and may even hinder them from performing basic tasks such as showering or eating. A person with PTSD may suffer from depression and close themselves off from loved ones and the outside world.
- Flashbacks: Flashbacks occur when you relive a traumatic event over and over, either while awake or through a nightmare. This is when the person who suffered the trauma experiences the event the same way they did originally. This can happen on its own or is triggered by a similar event, such as a loud bang reminding the person of a traumatic car crash.
- Hyper-vigilance: An individual with hyper-vigilance symptoms may focus on similar events around them in an obsessive manner; for instance, someone who suffered a car accident may try to pay attention to every car on the road as to make sure they never suffer a car accident again.
- Sleep issues: Someone who suffers from PTSD may find themselves having sleep issues; either sleeping too much in order to avoid interacting with others or not sleeping at all. They could also suffer from nightmares that relive the trauma and can cause anxiety, making it difficult to get rest.
- Suicidal thoughts: People who suffer from PTSD may experience suicidal thoughts or may contemplate suicide. The symptoms of PTSD, such as the depression or anxiety, or the flashbacks may occur so frequently, that it may be too much for the individual to bare. They may also feel that no one cares about them or that their PTSD is too much of a burden for others.
How to Treat PTSD?
PTSD is not new to the mental health community. Discussions about PTSD have increased over the past century or so, particularly after wartime like WWI and WWII, when it was commonly known as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue”. It began being referred to as PTSD in the 1970s during the Vietnam War.
Back then, treating PTSD consisted of painful methods like electric shock therapy. Now, counseling, prescription medications, and other therapies have been proven through extensive research to help manage PTSD:
- Medication: Medication may be prescribed to help treat the symptoms of PTSD, not necessarily to cure PTSD. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication can help a PTSD victim sleep better, can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and can help the victim deal with situations they normally would avoid. Medication combined with counselling can help victims of PTSD begin to heal.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): This type of therapy involves a therapist working with the victim’s negative thoughts and feelings that seem to be feeding into the PTSD and attempts to reverse them into something positive. Through cognitive processing therapy, the victim may be able to cope with the trauma better, while also identifying the root cause of the negative feelings.
- Prolonged exposure therapy: Through this type of therapy, the therapist works with the PTSD by bringing up similar events to their trauma but in a more controlled manner. The therapist counsels the victim in hopes of changing their perception of the event, that there may have been some positives that occurred, or focusing on other individuals who have been helping the victim.
- Group therapy: Through group therapy, the PTSD victim can discuss their trauma with others who have experienced a similar event and they could feel safe and comfortable doing so. This experience can help the victim by getting their true emotions out in the open without having to feel like they are burdening their friends or loved ones.
- Animal therapy: Animals, such as dogs, can receive specialized training that can help treat PTSD in victims by offering them safer and judgement-free interactions. Animals can also be trained to recognize situations such as a flashback before they occur and may be able to warn the victim of PTSD.
The Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Accident Victims Suffering from PTSD
If you have been involved in a car accident and are suffering from PTSD, then contact our experienced Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. immediately. Our knowledgeable team has years of experience with these types of cases and can help. Call us today at 302-656-5445 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly serve all communities of Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.