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How do you know if you're suffering from PTSD after a crash?

If you were been involved in a serious car crash, you likely focused on your physical injuries in the initial days. Then you may have begun to notice how it impacted you emotionally. Depending on what happened, you may have feelings of anger, nervousness and guilt (even if the crash wasn't your fault).

It's not uncommon for people to keep replaying the crash over and over in their mind and to have dreams (or nightmares) about it. It may be difficult to even get in a car again, let alone behind the wheel. It may be hard to focus on work or just daily tasks.

These feelings often subside. But what if they don't? If the emotional effects of a car crash continue or worsen and begin to impact your life, it is probably wise to consider seeking help. You may even be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD isn't just something suffered by military personnel who have been in combat. Anyone who's gone through a traumatic experience (and what's traumatic varies for each individual) can have.

Some people are more likely to suffer PTSD after a crash than others. You may be more likely to have it if:

  • You've experienced one or more previous traumatic events. This could include a violent attack, a sexual assault, a natural disaster or another crash. If you're a first responder, you may witness traumatic events every day.
  • You already suffer from anxiety, depression or other mental health issues.
  • Someone else was injured or killed in the crash, or you believed you were going to die.

Having a support system of family and friends to whom you can talk and who will offer encouragement after a serious crash can help. Sometimes, so can just writing about it if that helps you deal with feelings. However, when that's not enough, a psychologist or other mental health professional can help you better understand your feelings and work through them.

If you're seeking compensation from an at-fault driver and/or their insurance company to deal with your medical expenses, don't neglect to consider any psychological care you may need. Those expenses are just as valid. An experienced attorney can help you fight for what you deserve.

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