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Post-traumatic stress disorder and auto accidents

Those in Rhode Island who have been in a motor vehicle accident may suffer afterward from post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to any physical injuries that may have been sustained. While some fear and anxiety is normal after an accident, when emotions become unmanageable and start to interfere with daily activities a victim may need to seek further help.

It is normal in the aftermath of a car accident to have feelings of shock, guilt, fear, disbelief, anger or worry. In most cases, those emotions subside over time. However, for some victims, they do not lessen and may even strengthen. They may find themselves unable to drive or ride in vehicles. They might have recurring, intrusive thoughts of the accident along with nightmares and a sense of disconnection from other people. These are all symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are a number of approaches that can be taken to treat these symptoms. A doctor may be able to offer a referral or medication. People may also find relief from talking to family members or to a therapist. If possible, working to get back to daily activities as soon as possible is also helpful. Exercise and remaining active rather than curtailing activities is important. Finally, PTSD victims can take practical steps toward becoming a more defensive driver.

On top of the emotional difficulties from a car crash, accident victims may also be dealing with serious physical injuries as well as medical expenses. They may have lost income if they are unable to work. In the event that the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, a personal injury action may result in the award of damages to compensate for those losses.

Source: FamilyDoctor.org, "Post-traumatic Stress After a Traffic Accident", accessed on Jan. 26, 2015

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