One of the unspoken injuries suffered by car accident victims is trauma. While the most serious cases might qualify for diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, more minor cases may remain undiagnosed. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in order to receive a diagnosis of PTSD, a person must exhibit flashbacks or re-experience the trauma, avoid certain situations or encounters that trigger anxiety, be reactive, and experience mood or thought changes as a result of the traumatic event. Flashbacks, bad dreams, difficulty sleeping, feeling tense, angry outbursts, distorted thinking, negative thinking, or loss of enjoyment of prior activities are all symptoms of PTSD. Individuals must exhibit a cluster of these symptoms to receive a diagnosis.
But what if you only exhibit one or two of the key features of PTSD? Individuals can experience feelings of trauma without necessarily receiving a PTSD diagnosis. What are some things you can do if you feel you have suffered trauma after a car accident?
- Seek social support. According to the Huffington Post, one of the greatest indicators of whether a person will overcome trauma is whether they have a social support network. Seek people you trust. If you feel you don’t have people with whom you can discuss your trauma, consider reaching out to local support groups in your area.
- Understand that many people suffer trauma. One of the damaging things about our thinking about trauma is that we imagine it as something extreme, something that only happens to other people. The truth is that trauma is quite common. People can experience trauma after a cancer diagnosis, after watching certain news events unfold, and after difficult personal experiences. Most people you know will likely have something they can point to as traumatic. With so many people suffering from car accidents, there are likely many people who suffer in silence. Understanding that you are not alone can be motivating when it comes to speaking out about trauma or seeking help from those around you.
- Reflect on how trauma has changed your relationship to the world. According to QZ, the nature of trauma is that it lingers and isn’t forgotten. Rather than trying to forget trauma, consider the ways it has changed the way you relate to certain experiences. After a car accident, some individuals may vow to turn off their cell phones or become advocates for driving safety.
- Speak to a counselor. Even if you don’t qualify for a PTSD diagnosis, it can be helpful to speak to a counselor about your experiences. A counselor can help you reflect on how the experience has changed you, and give you tools to help you move forward.
- Consider speaking to a personal injury lawyer. Counseling can be costly and it isn’t always covered by insurance. If you are struggling to recover from your car accident trauma, contact the personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Gregg in Dallas Texas. Our lawyers understand the unique challenges that trauma survivors face after a car accident. We understand that the recovery process can be costly. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses and damages.