Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that causes a triggering of uncomfortable feelings of fear and stress in response to a traumatic event, such as a car injury.
Though why some people are more likely to develop symptoms of PTSD than others is not clear, some factors like genetics, individual personality, and neurobiology can make you more prone to suffer from PTSD after a car accident or other traumatic event.
Motor vehicle accidents remain the most common reason for PTSD in the general population. Studies claim that at least 39.2% of auto injury survivors are likely to suffer from PTSD symptoms.
You are likely to experience PTSD symptoms after a traumatic car injury because of the following factors:
Having a family history of psychopathology
Having previous experience with traumatic injury
Feeling disassociated immediately or after the trauma
High level of emotions like fear, horror, guilt, shame, and experiences during a traumatic incident
Where the traumatic incident stretches for a prolonged time
Lack of social support after the incident
Suffering from extra stress like losing a loved one, pain or injury from the incident, loss of home or work because of the injury
Having heredity of mental illness or substance abuse
Diagnosis of PTSD
PTSD symptoms can occur right after a traumatic event, or they can surface years after the incident. Some people with proper treatment can recover within six months, while others can take longer. For some, it can become chronic mental problems.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must experience all of the symptoms for at least one month.
At least one instance of re-experiencing the trauma
At least one instance of avoidance symptom
At least one reactivity and arousal symptom
At least one mood and cognitive symptom
What is the treatment for post-traumatic stress?
The main treatment for people experiencing PTSD symptoms involves:
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT):
It is a form of psychotherapy that attempts to change the behavior of people with PTSD to help them recover from the trauma.
Mostly, anti-depressants are prescribed to people with PTSD to control symptoms like depression, sadness, anger, and feelings of numbness. Other medicines can be prescribed for sleeping issues and nightmares.
What are the symptoms of post-traumatic stress?
While it is normal to feel flooded with emotions, like fear, grief, helplessness, shock, and confusion, immediately after experiencing a traumatic incident such as an auto injury, in the case of PTSD, the symptoms linger and may get worse over time.
PTSD symptoms vary from one person to the other. They can disrupt your relationships, causing problems in social and work situations.
PTSD symptoms are classified into four main types as follows.
Intrusive memories or re-experiencing symptoms:
Where something reminds you of the traumatic event causing you to relive the painful memories and experience the negative emotions of fear, grief, and confusion again.
Some of the symptoms of intrusive thoughts or re-experiencing symptoms can be:
Episodes of flashbacks that make you relieve the distressing memories of the trauma
Nightmares and frightening thoughts that affect your day-to-day life
Recurrent memories of a traumatic event disturbing your mental health
Physical reactions and severe emotional disturbance to something that reminds you of the distressing event
Avoidant behavior symptoms
Here, you try to avoid people and situations that remind you of the traumatic event. Having such a distressing response can cause you to :
Avoid talking and thinking about a traumatic event by keeping yourself busy
Avoid places, people, and situations that remind you of a distressing event. For example, if you experience auto injury, you may stop driving entirely.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms
This includes symptoms that change your physical and emotional reactions to situations and places that trigger your PTSD. They can be as follows:
Being easily startled or feeling on edge
Have difficulty sleeping and having nightmares
Having angry, emotional outbursts
Feeling irritable and showing aggressive behavior
Self-destructive behavior like excessive drinking or speed driving
Being defensive and on guard, always looking out for danger
Trouble concentrating on the tasks at hand
Cognitive and mood symptoms
These are the negative changes in moods and feelings like:
Negative thoughts about yourself and the world in general
A sense of hopelessness about the future
Memory problems include gaps in memory while recollecting a traumatic event
Difficulty in maintaining close relationships
Feeling emotionally numb and having trouble maintaining positive feelings
Lack of interest in an activity you have enjoyed before
Feeling detached from family and friends