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Help for People with PTSD after Automobile Accidents

written by: moniquesam • edited by: jen2008 • updated: 10/8/2010

Post traumatic stress disorder automobile accident affects many people in the United States. PTSD from a car accident is caused because you may have been involved first hand or seen the devastating affects of the accident. You become afraid and are unable to shake the fear even months later.

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    Accidents and PTSD

    A car accident can be a very traumatizing experience for anyone. But for some the fear and anxiety caused by that accident can persist for weeks, days, or even years later. This is called PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder. It affects many Americans every year who personally experience a traumatic accident or who may have just been a bystander. Although it is normal for someone who has been in a car accident to feel shaken up or afraid, normally those feelings should start to decrease within a few days or weeks. But when someone has post traumatic stress disorder after an automobile accident the damage seen or the fear and anxiety experienced traumatizes them to the point in which they always feel like danger is imminent.

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    Symptoms

    Symptoms for post traumatic stress disorder from an automobile accident are fairly similar no matter if you experienced it as a result of a car accident or because you were a victim of a violent act such as rape or domestic violence. One of the most recognizable signs would be avoidance of cars or anything that may remind you of the accident. First you may start off by just avoiding the area in which the accident occurred or you may just refrain from driving all together. You may have constant flashbacks about the event and are always afraid that the event can happen again to you or someone you know. Or you may have trouble sleeping due to nightmares about that day. Some symptoms that are a little more subtle may include panic attacks, depression, lack of interest in things you would normally find enjoyable. You may have trouble functioning and doing things that you normally do on a daily basis such as cleaning or going to work. Experiencing physical symptoms such as backache or headache is also a symptoms as well as turning to alcohol and drugs to try and erase the fear and feeling that you may be experiencing.

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    Treatment

    You should not be afraid to seek treatment and you should not just dismiss your symptoms as something normal. PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder is something serious and you do not have to suffer from it alone. If you experience any of the symptoms above you should contact your doctor or a psychiatrist . Either health care provider may recommend medications or some type of psychotherapy. You should be aware that taking medications will not make your symptoms disappear completely. The medicine that is prescribed will relieve the symptoms and make it a little easier for you to cope with PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great option, this type of therapy works by changing the way you think or view an issue. For example you may think that driving a car again may cause you to have a deadly accident but this therapy works by allowing you to realize that even though accidents happen there is no guarantee that driving will put you in danger. Another treatment option is group therapy, this type of therapy will allow you to talk and discuss your feeling with other people who feel the way you do. You will be able to work through your feelings together.

    http://www.nmha.org/go/ptsd

    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-easy-to-read/index.shtml