If you are in a car accident, you may expect to suffer some type of physical injury. Thankfully, because modern medicine usually gives doctors options for treating many wounds, you may eventually recover. Your psychological well-being may be a different story.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, post-traumatic stress disorder can happen to anyone who has gone through a stressful event. While you may be able to find some online tools to help you decide whether to see a professional, only a licensed mental health provider can give you an accurate diagnosis.
Symptoms of PTSD
A car accident can be a jarring experience that is not easy to forget. Still, if you have recurring nightmares or flashbacks about the crash, you may have PTSD. Here are some common symptoms of this serious mental health condition:
- Intrusive and uncontrollable thoughts about the car accident
- Avoidance behaviors, such as keeping away from cars or streets
- Negative changes in your mood or perception of reality
- Increased anxiety, aggression or irritability
If your symptoms do not go away in the days or weeks after a car accident, you should not wait to seek professional help. After all, PTSD can both worsen over time and contribute to other psychological disorders.
Your treatment options
Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use a variety of tools to treat PTSD. Depending on your symptoms and mental health needs, these may include one or more of the following:
- Cognitive, behavioral and exposure therapy
- Group counseling
While obtaining an effective treatment plan must be a priority, managing your accident-related PTSD is not likely to be cheap. Ultimately, you may need to pursue financial compensation from the driver who caused the accident to help you afford the appropriate care.