Motor Vehicle Accidents and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

50% of people who have pain caused by a motor vehicle accident meet the criteria for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 38% can still show signs of PTSD 5 years after the accident.

PTSD can impact your recovery from Whiplash Association disorder (WAD). These are some things to look out for in yourself or your family and friends after a car accident or sporting injury:                                            

1. Hyperarousal:
Body over responding when they think about the accident, like they are in danger. Sleeping difficulties, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, irritable, experiencing panic, uncharacteristic anger and outbursts.

This can be accompanied by flashbacks of the accident and emotional numbing.

2. Emotional Numbing:
This is where there is a sense of decreased emotional responses and reactivity that can impact your ability to feel and express emotions. It is a protective mechanism against negative feelings but also effects experiencing pleasure. Individuals lose interest in participating in activities, feel distant and separate, and find experiencing happiness and joy difficult.

3. Avoidance:
After the accident the individual may avoid different triggers that remind them of the event. They actively avoid discussing or thinking about it.

4. Re Experiencing:
This is where the individual has flash backs of the events and it impacts their daily activities.

It is important to identify PTSD as part of a response to a car accident or injury and seek appropriate help for resolution. Part of your support for this may be your osteopath. Osteopathic work may help to normalise nervous system function after trauma.

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