For most of us, getting behind the wheel is the riskiest thing we do all
day. As Missouri
personal injury lawyers, we know auto accidents are one of the leading causes of death
in the United States. However, the general public doesn't always recognize
how dangerous driving can be. Because crashes are scattered throughout
the country, many of us lose sight of how many accidents occur on a daily
basis: nationwide, an average of 18,000 car crashes happen throughout
the U.S. every single day.
If you've ever been involved in a serious accident, you know the experience
can be nightmarish. What's more, in addition to the physical consequences
that accompany car crash injuries,
research has shown that motorists may experience mental consequences as well. Traumatic accidents can cause symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD). Although PTSD is most often associated with the horrors
of combat, millions of Americans suffer from this mental disease, which
can be brought on by a number of different causes: many Americans report
PTSD symptoms after living through auto accidents, house fires, and natural
Of course, it's natural to feel nervous, afraid and upset after an
accident. In fact, most people do. It's good to have a healthy fear
of the road, but too much fear can actually put a driver in danger. To
help overcome feelings of anxiety about driving, start slow. Start by
just sitting in the driver's seat and simply starting the engine.
Then, step by step, try to work your way up to taking a short drive. As
you become more comfortable behind the wheel, extend the length of your
driving time. Remember to push yourself, but not too far. Take small steps.
Over time, driving will become easier, and fear and panic will subside.
However, there's an important distinction between normal feelings of
uneasiness and fear and PTSD symptoms.
Familydoctor.org reports that "strong feelings that stay with a person for a long
time and start to get in the way of everyday life are signs of [PTSD]."
For most car accident victims, the symptoms subside as time passes, but
those afflicted with PTSD experience fear and panic that seems overwhelming
Here are some common indications of PTSD following an auto accident:
- An ongoing feeling of general uneasiness, especially when driving or riding
in a vehicle
- Irritability, excessive worry and/or anger
- Persistent nightmares or sleeping problems
- Persistent memories from the accident that you can't control
- Fainting, or feelings of dizziness and nausea
- Chest pains
- Excessive sweating
- Inability to breathe and/or the feeling of a dry, closed throat
- The lack of clear vision or hearing