One can hardly watch the evening news these days without seeing a tragic story (or a public service announcement) regarding a soldier dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A high percentage of terrorist attack victims develop some level of PTSD following the traumatic incident.
Recently, medical experts have begun to see a surprisingly high incidence of PTSD among those involved in automobile accidents. Those who survive a violent crash all too often develop mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, and other forms of PTSD.
Three Million Personal Injuries in Auto Accidents Each Year
With the ever-growing number of cars on American roads, it isn’t surprising to observe that, according to studies by the federal government, approximately one percent of the U.S. population is injured each year in auto accidents. That is more than three million injuries annually.
PTSD Following an Auto Accident is Relatively Common
While the vast majority of auto accident survivors do not develop mental health issues warranting professional treatment, as many as nine percent of motor vehicle accident survivors suffer from mental disorders, the most common of which are PTSD, depression, and other anxiety disorders. Again, government research shows that:
- An average of 60 percent of accident survivors seeking mental health treatment have PTSD.
- Approximately one in four accident survivors seeking mental health treatment suffer a mood disorder, such as major depression.
- Twenty-seven percent of those seeking treatment had an anxiety disorder in addition to their PTSD.
- Fifteen percent of those seeking treatment had a phobia of driving.
Early Identification of PTSD and Other Disorders is Important
Following an accident, many survivors have an attitude of “I’ll just tough it out.” They initially seek treatment from a primary care physician, but do not consider the need for psychological treatment until considerably later. Studies show that those who develop PTSD and who do not seek appropriate psychological treatment tend to have symptoms repeating for as long as a year. Early treatment can, however, shorten the recuperative period.
Risk Factors for Auto Accident-Related PTSD
Studies indicate that some individuals are at a greater risk of developing PTSD or other mental health disorders following an auto accident than others. Among the “predictors” of PTSD/major depression are:
- A poor ability to cope with earlier traumatic events, the presence of a pre-accident mental health issue, such as depression, and an absence of strong social support have all been linked to the development of PTSD following a serious auto accident.
- The level of physical injury sustained: The more serious one’s physical injuries, the more likely one will experience PTSD or other mental health issues.
- The delay, if any, in recovering from any physical injuries associated with the accident: The slower the recovery, the greater the chance of developing PTSD, mood disorders, and other anxieties. Positive support from friends and family members can be crucial.
Depressed Following an Auto Accident?
If you have been injured in an auto accident and you are having difficulty coping with your physical injuries, you may be experiencing some level of PTSD or other mental health issue. Your long-term health may be harmed if your condition is not effectively treated. That treatment can be expensive and, if another driver was at-fault, his or her insurance company should bear the cost of your care. The Law Office of Janelle N. Bailey has the resources to investigate the accident and fight to protect your legal rights, not only regarding your physical injuries, but with any psychological injuries you may have also suffered. We pursue our clients’ cases at no cost until we win. For a free consultation, give us a call at 816-286-3625, or complete our convenient online contact form.