Can you develop PTSD after a car accident?

by | May 9, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

A car accident in California might influence you more than you realize. As weeks and even months pass from your incident, you may still notice unsettling feelings and emotions related to your experience.

Developing post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of experiencing a car accident is not unusual. Knowing how to navigate this common side effect can help you regain the confidence to drive again.

Signs of PTSD

In the moments following your collision, the shock could prevent you from making sense of the situation. You may feel dazed and confused. These feelings might even continue in the days after. With adequate medical treatment and the support of loved ones, you may notice the side effects of shock decrease.

If such feelings persist and you notice worsening symptoms, it could indicate PTSD related to the trauma you experienced. According to The Mayo Clinic, some symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Hopelessness
  • Recurring flashbacks of the accident
  • Emotional distress

Managing PTSD

A number of variables will influence the intensity of your symptoms. Triggers, for example, might include passing the accident scene, loud noises, the sound of emergency vehicles and even the smell of fuel. Knowing which triggers impact you might take some time. Working with a therapist could give you access to the tools you need to mitigate these triggers and respond to them in a productive manner.

Writing your experience down can help a lot to give you some relief. Rely on the support of your family and friends. When you do feel ready to drive again, take things slowly. Recognizing PTSD and seeking help to manage it can prevent it from harming your confidence. With time, you may eventually enjoy driving again.