While physical injuries are generally treated immediately following an accident by the first responders called directly to the scene, emotional injuries are often neglected until they have fully manifested and start to put a severe day-to-day strain on the injured.
Symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress are pushed aside and written off. We call ourselves overly sensitive, or whiny, or annoying when we jump at loud noises or bright lights or when our thoughts are racing as if our lives were being threatened, even though we are only walking through the city on our way home from the grocery store.
However, emotional trauma is serious, no less so than a fractured bone or severe concussion. Getting treatment is vital since symptoms can become debilitating to the point where leaving the house can seem so daunting it throws you directly into a severe panic attack. Below, we have put together a list of tips that can help you deal with the emotional damage you may have suffered as a result of an accident.
Know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, results from intense stress put on the mind and body under extreme circumstances, such as sexual assault, prolonged and severe neglect, military combat, or the witnessing of a violent death. Car accidents also fall into this category. However, not everybody who has survived the same situation will experience the same, if any, symptoms. Each person and each brain work differently and developing symptoms is no sign of character strength or weakness.
Regardless of whether you have experienced symptoms or not, you should still inform yourself about PTSD in order to help yourself and others in case your or they begin to show signs. The symptoms most commonly found in people who have survived a car crash are:
• frequent reliving of the trauma, whether it be through flashbacks or nightmares
• strict avoidance of situations associated with the trauma, i.e. refusing to enter a car and/or speak of the accident
• emotional withdrawal from friends and/or family members
• hyperarousal, i.e. extreme jumpiness, exaggerated irritability, or insomnia due to a restless mind
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer in Trenton and then the psychologists. However, don’t feel bad if they won’t diagnose you right away and say they want to observe your symptoms for a few weeks first. The above listed symptoms can also be indicator of Acute Stress Disorder, or ASD, which is a short-term form of PTSD in which symptoms will begin to fade and disappear over the weeks following the traumatic event.