PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a life-altering disorder that can affect all aspects of a victim’s life, including their physical and psychological wellbeing, mental state, personal relationships and even their job or means of living can all be adversely affected. Though most people associate PTSD with Shell Shock or war trauma, there are many causes for this disorder, including serious or fatal auto accidents. Working as a Seattle personal injury attorney I have seen Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder take a toll on the physical and mental well being of countless car crash victims.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is, in its simplest terms, an anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event and is accompanied by flashbacks, nightmares, lack of involvement with reality, and survivor guilt. PTSD is a bit different from a typical anxiety disorder in that it is triggered by some sort of physical or physiological trauma and it lasts for a prolonged period of time and has a big impact on the sufferer’s life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has a variety of symptoms which vary depending on the person. Symptoms include:
Nightmares or flashbacks
Random thoughts about the traumatic event
Sudden anger or sadness
Inability to remember important parts of the traumatic event
Loss of interest in life and activities
PTSD symptoms can appear shortly after the trauma is experienced or could take months and years in some cases to develop. In fact, children that are abused or assaulted will oftentimes develop PTSD in adulthood as a direct result of their childhood.
What Causes PTSD?
While Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety, it is more complex in that a severe trauma is altering the brain’s function. When experiencing fear or a traumatic experience the brain releases adrenaline- if you have ever participated in an extreme sport such as skydiving, or base jumping or if you have been on a roller coaster even you know the great rush adrenaline can give you. In many PTSD sufferers, however, this adrenaline release never turns off. As a result of the body overproducing adrenaline the victim becomes jumpy, preoccupied and in constant fear of danger. PTSD sufferers are liable to over-react to situations and become hyper-responsive to traumatic or scary events.
There are various traumatic events that can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and do not necessarily have to be a direct physical harm to the person with PTSD.
Severe Car Accident
War Trauma or Shell Shock
Fatal Accident in which either a loved one died, or an innocent person died
Death of a loved one
What are the Treatment Options for PTSD?
Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder varies depending on the individual and is decided on by a trained doctor. These treatment options typically involve some form of counseling and therapy and may also include medication depending upon the symptoms and the patient’s tolerance of drugs.
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