October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month — a time to raise awareness about mental health conditions that often go unnoticed or misunderstood. One such condition is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), most commonly associated with soldiers who have returned from combat.
However, anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can develop PTSD, including serious injuries from accidents. In Indiana, around 32.9% of adults struggle with anxiety or depression, which can be indicators of PTSD.
Understanding what causes PTSD and how you can receive compensation for PTSD treatment can help you after a catastrophic injury.
The Reality: PTSD Affects Everyone
While PTSD is often associated with military combat, the reality is that it can occur following any traumatic event, from natural disasters to car accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 7% of veterans and 6% of adults in the general population will experience PTSD at some point.
Accidents involving severe injuries can be particularly traumatic, leading to the onset of PTSD. This can include personal injuries such as car crashes, debilitating workplace injuries, painful slip and fall accidents, and birth and medical malpractice injuries.
For example, pooled data from several studies suggests that an average of 22.25% of car crash survivors are later diagnosed with PTSD, although that number could be as high as 58.3%.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD manifests in various ways, impacting both mental and physical health. Symptoms can range from intrusive thoughts and flashbacks of the event to emotional numbness and avoidance of places or situations that remind the individual of the trauma.
Other common symptoms include:
- Irritability or anger
- Anxiousness or depressive symptoms
- Difficulty sleeping
- Hyper-vigilance or heightened awareness of one’s surroundings
- Emotional withdrawal from friends and family
If you experience these symptoms for longer than a month and they are severe enough to interfere with relationships or work, you may have PTSD. Remember that symptoms can appear immediately after a traumatic event, or weeks or months later.
Available Help for PTSD Sufferers
Living with PTSD can be overwhelming, but help is available. Treatments often involve a combination of behavioral therapies and medications, such as the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): One of the most effective treatment options for the condition is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), facilitated by a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. This form of psychotherapy involves working to change the thought patterns that are disturbing your emotional well-being.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR focuses on the role of eye movement in processing and interpreting traumatic memories. The therapeutic technique helps reframe and reduce the emotional charge of these memories, promoting healing and a healthier perspective on the trauma.
- Medication: Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Prozac and Zoloft, are often prescribed to help manage symptoms like anxiety and depression related to PTSD.
- Community resources: Support groups and community resources can offer invaluable help if you’re living with PTSD. Speaking openly about your experiences with others going through the same thing can provide emotional relief and helpful coping mechanisms.
Online platforms and apps like PTSD Coach are also becoming more popular, offering therapy sessions and support from the comfort of your home.
Compensation for PTSD-Related Damages
Individuals with PTSD due to a personal injury accident caused by another’s negligence have the right to seek compensation. This is typically done with the help of a skilled attorney who can help you file a personal injury claim against the liable party for damages.
Whether your PTSD was caused by a car crash or another traumatic injury, the emotional and psychological aftermath can disrupt your life. You may be left with not only physical injuries and lost wages, but lasting mental and emotional harm that impacts your relationships and ability to enjoy your life.
When you file a compensation claim after a personal injury accident, your attorney can help you receive the following PTSD-related compensation. This is in addition to payment for economic damages you sustained, such as medical costs or lost earnings.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: This covers the reduced ability or inability to partake in and enjoy daily activities, hobbies, or special events due to PTSD.
- Emotional distress: Beyond general pain and suffering, this compensation addresses specific emotional consequences, such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, or suicidal thoughts.
- Loss of consortium: This compensates you for the impact PTSD has on your relationships, intimacy, and family dynamics.
- Future therapy costs: Your settlement may cover the cost of long-term or lifelong therapy, counseling, and medication specifically associated with PTSD.
- Life care expenses: In severe cases, your PTSD might be so debilitating that you require assistance with daily living, either temporarily or permanently. Your attorney can seek compensation to cover these expenses.
Schedule a Free Consultation for Your Accident Case
As we recognize National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, it’s essential to understand that mental health conditions like PTSD are not limited to any specific group of people. Whether you’re a soldier returning from combat or someone who has experienced a life-altering accident, PTSD can impact your daily life and overall well-being.
If you have developed PTSD after a car accident, medical malpractice injury, or workplace incident, contact our Indiana personal injury lawyers at Wagner Reese. During a free consultation, we will review your case, explain your rights, and help you file a claim for physical and intangible damages, including PTSD.