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What are the symptoms of car accident-related PTSD?

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with the military, and combat can certainly be the type of traumatic event that leads to PTSD. However, anything sufficiently traumatic can have this type of impact on your life. For many, that means that car accidents are among the greatest risks.

Say, for instance, that you’re driving home with your spouse and an elderly parent when someone runs a red light. Your spouse is badly injured and you have to pull them out of the car. Tragically, your elderly parent passes away at the scene. You may not have any physical injuries yourself, but such a horrific event could easily lead to long-term PTSD. Therapy, medication and other measures may be needed.

How do you know if you have PTSD?

PTSD is one of those things that notoriously impacts different people in different ways. One person may undergo a personality shift and become quiet and withdrawn. Another may seem exactly the same to outsiders but actually wake up every night with nightmares and flashbacks of the event. It’s important to consider all potential symptoms if you think this may be happening to you. Some examples include:

  • Trying to avoid the area where the crash took place
  • Experiencing massive mood swings and getting angry at small issues
  • Having panic attacks if you’re exposed to anything that triggers you, such as a memory of the person you lost or an account of a similar accident
  • Having nightmares and flashbacks, as noted above
  • Losing interest in life, hobbies, relationships, etc.
  • Falling into clinical depression, which may need medication and is very different than simply being sad about what happened
  • Telling people that you feel numb or that you haven’t been the same since the crash


In short, PTSD can really make you feel like a different person, and it’s often impossible to pull yourself out of these feelings and thoughts on your own. This can ruin personal relationships, careers and much more.

What can you do?

This is a very serious issue that is still not perfectly understood, but there are treatment options. You also may want to consider the legal options at your disposal.