PTSD After an Auto Accident
Ms. Hill, a 50-year-old female, has been under rehab care for two months due to multiple injuries caused by an auto accident. Her overall physical symptoms have remarkably recovered and she should be able to perform all her daily activities without any limitation; however, Ms. Hill is still complaining of a headache, neck pain, and right-hip pain.
Weirdly, she stated that one day she felt much better, but another day she felt very symptomatic as she mentioned. Whenever she experiences physical symptoms, she also has difficulty breathing, a severe headache with dizziness, excessive stomach tightness and soreness, insomnia, and she feels afraid to drive.
She tried to return to her work yesterday for the first time since her injury because she felt much better without any physical restriction; however, she was too afraid to drive, and she had to rest at home due to the sudden aggravation of symptoms again. The symptoms and problems she has been experiencing are related to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), so she has been referred to a psychiatrist.
Not all patients experience PTSD after an accident or trauma, but patients with PTSD experience their physical symptoms much longer with delayed and slow recovery, brought on by this emotional problem.
PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better.
If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD. PTSD symptoms may cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.
PTSD symptoms may include:
- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event.
- Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
- Negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world
- Hopelessness about the future
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- Being easily startled or frightened
- Trouble sleeping and concentrating
If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they are severe, or if you feel you are having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional before it gets worse. Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.