Motor vehicle accidents are devastating in more than one way. On one hand, they contribute to over two 2,000,000 injuries per year in the United States. When you are in a motor vehicle accident, your suffering may not be solely related to physical injuries. It is possible to suffer from PTSD following an accident.
Are you at risk of PTSD? A study shows that nearly 40 percent of survivors suffer from PTSD. VeryWell Mind outlines the risk factors behind PTSD.
What predicts PTSD?
It may surprise you to learn that there is not much to support that specific characteristics in an accident can affect the development of PTSD. The main predictor is not how serious the accident is. The main predictor is whether you perceived your life to be in danger. Likewise, if you dwell on the accident or suffer from depression following an accident, you are more likely to suffer from PTSD.
What factors into PTSD?
There are a few factors that may increase your risk of developing PTSD. These factors include psychological adjustment problems, a history of past traumas and a family history of psychopathology.
If you feel intense levels of emotion after an accident, you may also have a higher risk. Many drivers feel helpless, ashamed or even horrified after the accident takes place. Some even dissociate. When you dissociate after an accident, you are likely to develop PTSD.
If you have intrusive memories and feel as though your emotional reactions changed after the accident, this can be a warning sign. While some symptoms are a natural response to trauma, the symptoms should subside.