Everyday people experience trauma that can completely change who they are, how they think, and their overall perception of life, and indeed, the source of the trauma can be just as unique as the individual who experienced it. Unfortunately, doctors, lawyers, and politicians tend to focus only on the physical aspect of an event such as a car accident, workplace injury, or premises liability accident, but in many cases, the most severe damage incurred by an accident victim is emotional. This aspect of personal injury law is reinforced by the fact that over eight million Americans are currently experiencing the effects of PTSD according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Moreover, according to National Institute of Mental Health, about 3.6% of the U.S. population was suffering from PTSD in 2003. PTSD like other types of mental illness can be either temporary or permanent. As of 2003, it was expected that 6.8% of those suffering from PTSD in 2003 would continue to have this illness for the rest of their life, and about 36.6% of PTSD patients in 2003 had PTSD that was categorized as severe. Common PTSD symptoms such as frightening thoughts, trouble sleeping, and feeling detached can affect every aspect of an accident victim’s life, which is why it is so important for accident victims to understand what types of trauma typically cause PTSD, how to recognize common PTSD symptoms, and how PTSD is treated.
Types of Trauma that can Cause PTSD
Remember, PTSD is usually caused by a traumatic event, but not all traumatic events will cause you to develop PTSD. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, about 50% of all people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime, but only 8% of these people will develop PTSD. The key to determining whether or not you have PTSD really comes down to understanding the common symptoms that PTSD patients experience, and these symptoms can be broken down into four broad categories:
- Re-experiencing symptoms
- Avoidance symptoms
- Arousal and reactivity symptoms
- Cognition and mood symptoms
It is typical for people to experience PTSD-like symptoms for a few weeks after they have been through a traumatic event, but those who develop PTSD will experience these symptoms for an extended length of time. Therefore, you should consult with a mental health professional if you experience any of these symptoms for more than a month.
Re-experiencing symptoms cause you to relive the traumatic event, and these symptoms can take many forms. Often, re-experiencing symptoms can be vivid and can actually make you experience some of the same emotions that were elicited as a result of the trauma. Common re-experiencing symptoms include:
- Bad Dreams
- Frightening Thoughts
Experiencing these symptoms can lead to other conditions or feelings such as insomnia or feelings of fear and anxiety. If you continuously experience these symptoms for more than a month after an accident, you should consult with a mental health professional.
As people, we don’t like remembering things or events that are painful, but we can normally deal with these emotions in a healthy way. This fact is demonstrated by things that we do on a regular basis such as visiting a loved one’s grave or looking at photographs of a family member that has passed away. Although these activities might elicit feelings of pain, we engage in these activities anyways. However, if you are suffering from PTSD, you might go to great lengths to avoid any person, place, or thing that reminds you of your traumatic event. This is known as an avoidance symptom, and some of the most common avoidance symptoms associated with PTSD are listed below:
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
- Avoiding places or objects related to the traumatic event
- Avoiding events related to your traumatic experience
Often, those who suffer from PTSD avoid certain places, events, or objects, because these things act as a trigger that can cause the individual to feel afraid, angry, or depressed. Triggers can affect you in many ways that are unpleasant, and if you find yourself avoiding certain things that remind you of your trauma, make sure to speak with your doctor about some of the symptoms you are experiencing.
Arousal or Reactivity Symptoms
PTSD symptoms tend to have a very intense emotional component that can be hard for other people to understand. These emotions can affect how you react in certain day-to-day situations, and these sudden and intense reactions to normal events are known as arousal or reactivity symptoms which include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense
- Outbursts of anger
- Difficulty sleeping
Cognition and Mood Symptoms
Some symptoms of PTSD manifest themselves in a more subtle manner, but these symptoms can be just as frustrating and debilitating as their counterparts. Cognition and mood symptoms might affect the way you think and feel on a regular basis, and they commonly consist of symptoms such as:
- Difficulty remembering details of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts
- Distorted feelings
- Loss of interest
These feelings can lead to isolation or a loss of enjoyment from of activities that you used to enjoy. All of the symptoms associated with PTSD can be frightening, frustrating, and overwhelming, but they key to managing severe PTSD symptoms is seeking treatment.
Treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The appropriate course of treatment for you will depend on a number of factors, but there are common methods of treatment that have helped thousands of PTSD patients. However, finding the modality of treatment that is appropriate for you will depend on the source of your trauma. According to the National Institute of Health, the most common events that can cause a person to develop PTSD are:
- Witnessing someone get killed or badly injured
- Being in a life-threatening accident
- Being threatened with a weapon
- Experiencing a natural disaster
- Being raped
The treatment your doctor recommends can be influenced by the type of trauma that ultimately caused you to develop PTSD, but you will also play a critical role in the rehabilitation process due to the fact that your doctor will rely on you for feedback on what course of treatment is effective. The most methods of treatment for individuals suffering from PTSD are as follows:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
- Exposure therapy
- Imagery rehearsal therapy
PTSD Attorneys in Atlanta, GA
Being involved in a life-threatening accident can change your life, and the road to recovery can be difficult, which is why obtaining experienced highly qualified legal representation is so important. At Cambre and Associates, our team of personal injury lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping accident victims seek justice, because you shouldn’t have to suffer as a result of another person’s negligent reckless actions. Don’t face the road to recovery on your own. Call the personal attorneys at Cambre and Associates today for a free consultation to find out how a personal injury lawyer can help you.