I recently received a phone call asking, “Is it possible to have PTSD after a car wreck? I thought this disorder mainly occurred in veterans or child abuse survivors.”Absolutely! Car accidents can certainly be traumatic! You don’t have to experience military combat or childhood abuse to develop it. The probability of developing PTSD increases if you or someone else was seriously injured, felt out of control, believed you were in grave danger, or experienced a previous car accident or another traumatic incident.

People rarely expect that a car accident could have such far ranging psychological consequences as PTSD. After an accident, people may fear riding in a car, driving by the accident site, jump when they hear sirens, experience nightmares, and may not be able to articulate what happened to them. Getting to sleep or remain sleeping at night may become a problem. These are a few of the symptoms that can occur following a car wreck. However after a few months, most people’s fear and anxiety dissipate. However with PTSD, these symptoms continue to persist and interfere with their lives. I often work with insurance companies and lawyers to provide treatment for their clients. A self-report test is given initially to see if there are sufficient symptoms to warrent a diagnosis of PTSD. This test also determines the severity of the symptoms and ways in which the accident has disrupted a person’s life.

If you have been in a car accident and you are suffering from PTSD, many automobile insurance companies will pay for your treatment. There is no reason to suffer long-term from the consequences of your car wreck. Contact Evelyn Wenzel, MSW, LCSW, CAP at Total Life Counseling Center at (407) 248-0030 for an initial consultation.

Helpful websites include: www.aest.org.uk; www.ncptsd.va.gov, www.omh.state; www.Sidran.org, www. trauma-pages.com, and www.istss.org

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Author: Evelyn Wenzel,MSW,LCSW,CAP