Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a severe and persistent anxiety disorder that results from from experiencing a trauma. Commonly associated with soldiers and victims of war, it is also a frequent consequence of serious motor vehicle accidents, referred to as Motor Vehicle Accident PTSD (MVA-PTSD).
The unexpected and instantaneous nature of an accident causes everyone involved to experience a rush of terror, and at least a momentary threat of danger. Combined with the physical damages, these heightened emotional states can have a lasting impact on a victim’s mental state.
Symptoms of MVA-PTSD can include recurring nightmares (usually recalling the accident), sleeplessness, agitation, or irritability that last for more than one month. Depression, low mood, and avoidance of social situations are also common responses. Physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, headaches, or gastro-intestinal discomfort can trigger MVA-PTSD, as well.
Any of these symptoms can appear immediately, or may take months to show up, which means that sufferers might not relate them to the original accident. A physician, especially a mental health professional, can identify and diagnose MVA-PTSD; he or she can begin therapy and medication as soon as possible, and may suggest long-term treatment.
Read more about Emotional Consequences of a Car Crash.
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