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Can a car accident lead to PTSD?

There are a lot of injuries that are commonly associated with car accidents. From bruise and broken bones to spinal cord and head injuries, there are few injuries that can't be suffered after being struck by another vehicle.

Did you know though that a person may also suffer an injury to their psyche after a serious crash? If you're like some of our Los Angeles readers, you probably didn't think this could happen. But according to experts at the National Institute of Mental Health, car accidents can lead to PTSD, a very serious mental health condition that does not go away easily.

For those who don't know, post-traumatic stress disorder, or more commonly referred to as PTSD, is a condition in which a person may feel anxious, afraid or fearful for an extended period of time after having a traumatic experience. To understand why this occurs, let's first take a look at how our brain reacts to the world around us.

Prior to a traumatic event, an individual's brain interprets dangerous situations correctly, triggering the fear response that commonly tells us to avoid a situation. But with PTSD, a person's perception of danger is changed, causing them to experience fear even though nothing dangerous is around.

For many PTSD sufferers, flashbacks and nightmares are common sometimes even months or years after the traumatic event took place. Some sufferers may even feel on edge or anxious in close proximity to vehicles or near where an accident took place. In cases of accident-related PTSD, a person may avoid driving or even riding in a vehicle.

Although PTSD is treatable, there is no quick cure. Treatment is also not a one-size-fits-all type of thing, which means what works for one person may not work for another. Treating PTSD takes time too, which is something to consider, especially when asking for compensation after a crash, because long-term treatments can get expensive but should be covered by compensatory damages.

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