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With about one out of seven service members returning from deployment abroad with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the chief of the traumatic stress program at the National Institute of Mental Health feels that there are too many myths regarding the disorder according to USA Today.

Top cause of PTSD is not military combat, but research has indicated that car accidents hold that distinction.

Our firm’s car accident lawyers know that one of the biproducts of a crash is emotional trauma.  You do not need to be physically hurt to be in pain and need help paying your medical bills because you are unable to go to work and recover lost wages.  Anything that impacts your life to such a degree — car accident or war — can lead to PTSD.

The Department of Veterans Affairs reported about a 70% increase in veterans seeking treatment for the disorder from June 2006 to May 2007, with an additional 50% increase in the next nine months.  At the same time, about 20% of those in car accidents, that caused injuries, have PTSD a year after the accident, according to a long term study in Albany, N.Y.  With about 2.5 million people injured in auto accidents last year alone, according to the National Highway Safety Administration, there are perhaps 500,000 people at risk.

One woman, whose car flipped three times into oncoming traffic in a car accident, leaving her trapped under the collapsed roof, feels she experienced symptoms.  The 43-year old Redondo Beach, California native described her most severe after-effects, which still make her cry to this day.

“Getting back in a car was just awful — my heart raced at intersections,” she said. “I would see like a video of the scene all the time. I couldn’t concentrate and had trouble sleeping.  I knew that I would be too afraid to leave home if I let myself keep going in this direction.”

Another myth about PTSD is that the disorder is only psychological when in actuality it is a biologically based condition — putting the body’s stress-response system into overdrive.  Treatment with antidepressants such as Zoloft give most people relief from symptoms.

The woman described here is not alone.  On average, Americans with PTSD typically wait 12 years before getting treatment.  The longer someone has PTSD, the more likely he or she is likely to develop drug or alcohol abuse and more likely to die of heart disease.

All of these factors add up to several problems facing the fight against PTSD.  With a culture that places emphasis and shrugging off your problems and worries, perhaps millions of people are living with the life-altering stresses that plague her.  While they are not medical doctors, our car accident lawyers strongly recommend that you immediately consult with your doctor if you feel that there is anything wrong, especially if you experience any of the following symptoms after a car accident:

  • nightmares
  • insomnia
  • flashbacks or avoidance of the auto accident
  • startling easily
  • trouble concentrating
  • emotional numbness
  • irritability
  • aggression

When dealing in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, it is paramount to be proactive and not reactive when seeking treatment.

If you were injured and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-800-655-6585 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney and find out how we can help you.  We look forward to providing good advice for your case.  There is no fee if no recovery.

Michael Pines, APCAbout

Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who specializes in car accident injury. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes on how insurance companies work and how they decided to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael's inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents.

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