5 Psychological Injuries That May Occur After an Accident
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tom Metier with Metier Law Firm.
Trauma can have long-term effects on a person’s mental health, and psychological injuries can have a significant impact on an accident victim’s physical health. All kinds of accidents can result in trauma that may be more or less severe depending on the circumstances. Psychological injuries may be short or long-term, and they typically require treatment from a trained mental health professional to be alleviated.
5 psychological injuries that may occur after an accident include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is known to occur following traumatic situations, including motor vehicle and other accidents. It can also arise when someone has been undergoing systemic trauma over a period of time, such as in an ongoing relationship with an abusive parent or spouse. In fact, PTSD can even affect those who witnessed a traumatic incident, such as an act of violence, terror, or a catastrophic accident. PTSD may present in flashbacks, feelings of numbness, anxiety, depression, and more.
- Anxiety. Anxiety can take many forms, but when it arises primarily after experiencing a traumatic accident, this could be indicative of a psychological injury. People who suffer from anxiety may experience physical symptoms including chest pain and shortness of breath, and/or may develop phobias in certain scenarios. For example, someone who was involved in a catastrophic vehicle accident may feel too anxious driving to get back on the road and may need to use alternate modes of transportation.
- Major Depressive Disorder (Depression). Depression is a common psychological injury following a traumatic accident; experiencing or witnessing terror or extreme pain can damage a person’s mental health. In the event that one person was harmed more than another, or even killed, in some kind of accident, the survivor may experience feelings of misplaced guilt, which could be the cause of or may even exacerbate the depression. People who suffer from depression may feel unmotivated and could struggle to engage with or enjoy life as they did before the accident.
- Insomnia. Insomnia is not uncommon following a traumatic accident. Nightmares, night terrors, and trouble staying asleep or falling asleep may all be symptoms of trauma-induced insomnia. People who suffer from insomnia can develop additional psychological injuries, and may find it hard to engage with life due to an altered sleep schedule and chronic exhaustion.
- Mood swings. While mood swings may not be a psychological injury on their own, mood swings following a traumatic situation could be highly indicative of a new or exacerbated psychological injury. Mood swings can occur in accident victims suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more. If a loved one seems easily agitated, irritable, or displays sudden and unexpected shifts in mood following a traumatic accident, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional who can help identify and treat any psychological injury that could be interfering with the accident victim’s life.
It’s important to remember that psychological injuries can have just as significant of an impact on a person's daily life as any physical injury; in fact, while physical injuries may heal with time, an accident victim could find themself struggling with psychological injuries well into the future. This is why it’s important for accident victims and their families to explore options for recovery following a traumatic event. It may be possible to seek compensation for psychological damage in court via a personal injury claim against the negligent party.
To learn more about psychological injuries following an accident, or for help filing a claim, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.