Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is often associated with war veterans, but what a significant number of people fail to realize is that PTSD can be the result of a variety of physical or psychological traumas. In fact, as a severe auto accident attorney in Seattle, Washington I have seen countless auto accident victims suffering severe trauma after an auto accident. These victims suffer debilitating symptoms that can alter all aspects of their life including their personal relationships, job, and psychological and physical wellbeing.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
- S: (n) posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD (an anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as survivor guilt, reliving the trauma in dreams, numbness and lack of involvement with reality, or recurrent thoughts and images)
As described above Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder runs deeper than a simple anxiety disorder- the disorder affects all aspects of their life. Sufferers of PTSD experience life-altering symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, hypervigilance, inability to remember important parts of the trauma, depression, and loss of interest in activities. PTSD symptoms may not emerge immediately- sometimes it takes weeks, months or even years for the disorder to emerge. While many people suffer anxiety disorders after a traumatic event in order for it to be considered PTSD symptoms must be persistent and cause significant disruption to life function.
Most people think PTSD is simply an anxiety disorder, but as the definition above explains, unlike common anxiety and stress PTSD is triggered by a significant level of trauma and affects the victim’s everyday life. The types of events which lead to PTSD involve some sort of devastating physical or physiological trauma.
This trauma can involve:
- The threat of death to oneself or someone else
- War trauma
- A traumatic or fatal auto accident
- Sexual assault or abuse
- Childhood Neglect
- Natural Disasters
- Death of a loved one
When experiencing trauma the body releases adrenaline- activating the fight or flight response and triggering fear or panic. These types of traumatic events can cause an overactive adrenaline response. While the release of adrenaline after a traumatic event is normal, if this high level of adrenaline continues it can create deep neurological patterns within the brain itself which will trigger anxiety and fear and make the victim hyper-responsive to future events. It is when this lasting terror occurs that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is diagnosed.
The treatment options for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder vary depending on symptoms and the person. Counseling, Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization, and Medications are common treatments.
If you have experienced a traumatic experience and are suffering signs of PTSD do not hesitate to contact a medical professional- you do not have to live in constant fear! If you have suffered these symptoms as the result of a severe auto accident schedule talk to a Seattle personal injury attorney immediately to discuss what steps to take. If your injuries were the result of a negligent driver you may be able to recover damages. Contact our Bellevue personal injury law firm to schedule your FREE consultation.