After a collision, it’s natural to be concerned about treating everyone’s physical injuries. However, it’s important not to overlook the significant mental health issues that sometimes arise.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most well-known as arising from and related to the trauma of some military service. We now know that it can develop after any traumatic experience. The disorder is characterized by a constant feeling of danger and painful memories. Sufferers may have flashbacks or nightmares and exhibit signs of depression, such as a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, feelings of detachment from loved ones, and trouble concentrating throughout the day.
Kids Suffer From PTSD Too
Parents need to know PTSD can strike at any age. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine found that children whose parents were seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident were twice as likely to experience symptoms of PTSD as other children even if they experienced no injuries themselves. Simply being exposed to a parental trauma after an injury was enough to increase the childrens’ risk of suffering from PTSD.
Children may display many of the same PTSD symptoms as adults, but parents should also be on the lookout for trouble in school or a regression in developmentally appropriate behavior. For example, a child who was previously potty trained with no issues may start having regular accidents or a child who hasn’t sucked his thumb in well over a year may begin this behavior once more as a form of self soothing.
PTSD Treatment Options
Early treatment is the key to dealing with PTSD symptoms of both children and adults. Sufferers are best served with the assistance of a therapist trained and experienced in dealing with trauma and PTSD.
There are several ways to treat PTSD occurring as the result of a motor vehicle accident. If the patient is a child who has trouble expressing feelings verbally, play therapy or art therapy may be used to help the child deal with the trauma. For adults, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy can help sufferers learn to deal with the upsetting feelings caused by the triggering event. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can be used as part of cognitive behavioral therapy to help “unfreeze” the brain’s information processing system when it is interrupted in times of extreme stress. Family therapy can help parents and children work through their issues together. And, in some cases, antidepressant medication such as Zoloft or Prozac may also be prescribed.
Holzer Edwards Can Help
The attorneys at Holzer Edwards are dedicated to representing Idaho residents who have been injured due to the negligence of others and wish to seek monetary compensation for physical injuries and/or mental health care. Please call (208) 386-9119 or toll-free at (888) 490-0992 for a free consultation.