Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) Common After Motor Vehicle Accidents
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) although common in post-combat military personnel, is not just a combat-related issue. It can occur following non-combat situations with consequences that are just as serious. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that occurs after a person experiences a traumatic event causing serious injury. It can occur in up to 51% percent of people who are seriously injured in car accidents.
PTSD may adversely affect your recovery by impacting how you experience pain and how you perceive your recovery. Without treatment, PTSD can make it difficult to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, paying bills, shopping, laundry and other routine chores.
A PTSD diagnosis must be made by your physician and requires the presence of specific behaviors or symptoms, including:
- re-experiencing the traumatic event, including nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive memories;
- avoiding situations which remind you of the original trauma, reluctance to talk or think about the original trauma, or feeling emotionally “numb” about the event; and,
- increased irritability, anger, difficulty concentrating, and/or insomnia.
These symptoms must last at least 1 month and must be severe enough to cause a noticeable change in your behavior. PTSD can occur in any person at any age, but PTSD is more likely to occur if you use drugs or alcohol, if you are female, or if you are of Hispanic origin. Typically, PTSD is treated with therapy or medications, including anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Recognizing the symptoms of PTSD early offers the best chance of effective treatment. Doctors can improve patient outcomes by knowing which patients are at risk of developing PTSD and initiating prevention strategies. Unfortunately, many doctors may not recognize the signs of PTSD and remain unaware of prevention and treatment strategies. As a result, your recovery may be delayed and your chances of a full recovery may be diminished.
If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, talk to your doctor about the emotional symptoms you may be feeling, which could be early signs of PTSD.
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