Healing from Auto Accidents: Understanding and Managing PTSD

PTSD After Auto Accidents: Recognizing and Managing Symptoms

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health condition involving more than 3 million cases in the United States annually. PTSD is a condition following a traumatic event either witnessed or experienced by an individual that causes anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and unrelenting thoughts about the terrifying event. These PTSD symptoms can be life altering, leading to depression, lethargy, and even violence and suicidal ideation.

PTSD is not experienced by everyone that undergoes significant trauma, however. Symptoms of PTSD can last just months or may continue for years. All sorts of trauma can induce PTSD. Motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims that we frequently treat in our office often present with symptoms of PTSD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, auto accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the US with over 39% of those involved in auto accidents experiencing this disorder.

Upset depressed young woman lying on couch feeling

Recognizing PTSD: Signs and Self-Discovery After Auto Accidents

After an auto accident, victims often report poor sleep due to nightmares and thoughts about the accident. Some people avoid driving on the same road where they were injured or avoid driving altogether due to their anxiety. Victims of auto accidents often describe symptoms of mood swings, negative feelings, and depression. Self-recognition of the symptoms of PTSD is the first step, but this is often overlooked and can be difficult for the sufferer to identify. Often it is family or friends that detect a change in the auto accident victim's behavior or mood.

Managing PTSD After Auto Accidents: Seeking Support and Treatment

A physician (medical or chiropractic) can also ascertain the presence of PTSD during the intake and history portion of the examination after an auto accident. Mild cases of PTSD usually resolve over time once the patient is aware the symptoms and can take comfort in knowing the cause of their emotional distress. Coping strategies to reduce the severity of PTSD include exercise, journaling, mindfulness, meditation, and spending time with family and friends. Auto accident patients that are suffering from PTSD can gain some relief by talking with their health care provider, family and friends, or their spiritual advisor (clergy, priest, pastor, etc). It is important for the victim to understand the traumatic cause of their symptoms and realize that they are treatable. In some cases, further treatment for PTSD is needed and may be performed by a counselor or psychologist.
Identification and appropriate treatment of PTSD is critical to the auto accident victim’s overall well-being. At Accident & Wellness Chiropractic, our providers are trained in identifying symptoms of PTSD and securing appropriate care for our patients. Contact Accident & Wellness Chiropractic if you have been injured in an auto accident.