In the blink of an eye, a car wreck can turn your world upside down. Yet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately every ten seconds, someone in the United States is injured in a motor vehicle accident. While most of these accidents are not fatal, even minor car accidents can lead to long-term anxiety, depression, and fears about driving or riding in a car. In fact, a study done by British researchers concluded that a full one-third of all those involved in a non-fatal car accident can suffer from PTSD, anxiety, phobias and depression a full year after the incident.
Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, Richard Mayou, states that there is an assumption that those with more severe physical injuries will suffer psychiatric complications, but that assumption is simply not accurate. Mayou found that while the majority of those involved in an auto accident recovered psychologically within three to twelve months, others had persistent problems. Some of those in the study, developed anxiety and depression months after the accident. Interestingly, those who suffered the most persistent anxiety were passengers in the accident, rather than drivers. Other issues associated with the aftermath of a car accident include:
- Relationship problems;
- Lack of interest in things once enjoyed;
- A feeling of hopelessness;
- Trouble sleeping and eating;
- A pervasive feeling of sadness;
- Feelings of guilt;
- Problems making decisions, and difficulty concentrating.
According to Clinical Psychology, traffic accidents have become the leading cause of PTSD since the Vietnam War, and at least 9 percent of car accident survivors will develop significant PTSD symptoms, including depression. Depression involves both the mind and body, and affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. If there is physical pain as a result of the accident and injuries, that pain can lead to depression. Disabling pain can also result in low self-esteem, as a result of financial, legal, work and relationship issues.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms associated with depression include the following:
- Loss of pleasure in normal activities;
- Loss of interest in normal activities;
- Feelings of sadness, nearly every day;
- Feelings of unhappiness nearly every day;
- Feelings of emptiness nearly every day;
- Significant changes in appetite;
- Sleeping more than usual, or persistent insomnia;
- Regular bad dreams;
- Feeling tense, or “on the edge” regularly;
- Loss of energy, nearly every day;
- Regular trouble concentrating;
- Trouble thinking or speaking;
- Irritability over relatively small matters;
- Crying for no apparent reason, and
- A decrease in sex drive.
Unfortunately, when it comes to determining the extent of depression or other psychological pain, there is no definitive “test.” Like physical pain, mental trauma is intangible, therefore very difficult to measure. It is important for the patient suffering depression following an auto accident to be able to clearly communicate the level of depression experienced, as well as how that depression has affected the ability to enjoy life. Emotional distress is very real, and can be debilitating. A car accident, a slip and fall accident in a public place or in the workplace, or a dog attack can result in physical and mental injuries which can forever change the life of the victim.
If you believe you are suffering from depression following your auto accident, a physical exam and psychological evaluation can help your doctor determine the right course of treatment for you. Beyond seeking medical help, you can also speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you seek an equitable settlement for your injuries, both physical and mental. You may be entitled to medical, rehabilitative and therapy expenses, any out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering compensation.
Contact Washington DC Personal Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured accident victims and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If you or someone you love has suffered from depression or PTSD after a traumatic accident, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, and many other places in Maryland and Virginia.