After a severe car crash, you may deal with lingering physical issues such as broken bones and spinal cord injuries. However, mental scarring is much harder to identify.
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can affect anyone injured in a car accident.
Impact and severity
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the most common symptoms of PTSD include fear, confusion and intense changes in mood. The more severe the crash, the likelier there are some lingering emotional issues from it.
Previous trauma from other events in your life can also impact your risk for developing PTSD. However, even relatively minor crashes can cause mental anguish, since there is no one answer to how severe an accident has to be to cause PTSD.
You may become hesitant to ride in another car after a crash. Memories of the accident may linger in your mind and cause you to avoid entering any vehicle even after you recover physically.
Rumination, also known as thinking about the issue repeatedly, is a common sign of PTSD. These thoughts and actions can put a strain on your social life and your daily routine, especially if left untreated. You may have a higher risk of developing PTSD if you have a family history of psychopathology or if you were particularly stressed at the time of the crash.
You may assume these feelings naturally fade away as time goes on. However, with PTSD, these emotions actually increasingly become more of a strain on your mind even months after the crash. Trauma from car accidents is a serious issue, and you should seek help if you are struggling with any related symptoms.