According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents cause about 3 million injuries each year. Severe motor vehicle accidents often cause severe and life-threatening injuries. In most cases, the accident victim’s injuries are visible and easy to diagnose by medical professionals and EMS technicians. However, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a difficult injury to diagnose, and specialized diagnostic tools and tests are necessary to properly diagnose the injury. Millions of motor vehicle accidents happen yearly, and people involved in serious auto accidents frequently have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological injury that occurs when a person has experienced a traumatic incident, such as a serious car wreck. The symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, often include distressing thoughts about the crash, psychological re-experiencing of the incident, reluctance to drive, irritability, sleep problems, and exaggerated startle behavior.

One study found that the signs of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder can persist for 30 days or longer following the accident in 25-33% of study participants tested. The study reported that the rates of PTSD found in motor vehicle accident victims tended to be very high. The lifetime prevalence rate of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder was 7.4%, and accidents were one of the leading causes of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s estimated that anywhere between 2.5 million to 7 million people in the United States have some level of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is not the only severe psychological condition that occurs after an accident. Fifty-three percent of motor vehicle accident victims were diagnosed with mood disturbances and other mood disorders. One sample of car accident survivors showed that 25% of study participants reported symptoms of major depressive episodes. It has also been reported that about 41% of accident victims who met the diagnostic criteria for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder also reported suffering major depressive episodes.

Chronic pain is another symptom connected with car accident Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Chronic pain can lead to significant lifestyle limitations such as significant distress, impairment, consistent use of pain medication, and continued medical care for pain relief. A separate study involving auto accident survivors suffering from regular headaches and other pain also suffered from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

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