Over the past several years, many researchers have been looking into whether vehicle accidents is one of the leading causes of traumatic stress or not. And quite surprisingly, many studies have confirmed this idea. In fact, one US study highlighted how the most frequent traumatic event experienced by men were accidents with 25% of the participants responding positively to the suggestion. For women, accidents were the second most traumatic experience in their lives, with 13% agreeing to the claim.
It is estimated that more than 100 billion dollars are spent in the US each year to deal with the damage and trauma resulting from the accidents. The mental health issues faced by survivors of accidents include conditions like Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), extreme anxiety, severe depression, and so on. This post looks at the various aspects of car accidents including the number of people who become victims of crashes, the number of people who eventually develop conditions like PTSD and similar mental issues as a result of the accident, the risk factors which are associated with PTSD caused by car accidents and the treatments available to help people who suffer from such conditions.
The Number Of People Who Experience Serious Vehicle Accidents
Though transportation revolutionized the world by ensuring fast travel and communication, the unfortunate consequence of high traffic transportation in the US has been the numerous casualties of vehicle accidents. It is estimated that at least 1% of the nation’s population will have been injured in vehicle accidents every single year. Numerically speaking, America sees about 3 million auto accidents annually, which represents one of the biggest traumatic experiences for most individuals.
The Number Of People Who Develop PTSD And Other Mental Issues Due To Vehicle Accidents
Many studies have been conducted on individuals who have experienced accidents to determine whether it does result in severe psychological problems that will require professional treatment. However, no major positive correlation was found in the vast number of cases. But a minority of these subjects have been observed to have suffered from mental issues like PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Some studies have determined that around 9% of the survivors of crashes are prone to develop conditions like PTSD. This percentage increases when the sample is narrowed down to people who seek psychological treatment. In fact, about 14% to 100% of motor vehicle accident survivors who sought professional help was seen to be suffering from PTSD. And anywhere from 3% to 53% of the people who sought mental care help and had PTSD were also observed to be under severe mood disorders like depression. In another major study, 27% of survivors who sought out professional treatment were reported to be struggling with anxiety disorder and PTSD, while 15% were said to have developed an intense phobia towards driving.
Know The Risk Factors Associated With PTSD Caused By Accidents
Researchers have been trying to formulate a way to determine the probability of PTSD after an accident. And in recent years, they seem to have identified the variables that can help do just that. In fact, the methodology now allows for clinicians to accurately pinpoint which of their car accident patients are at risk of developing serious long-term psychological problems, thereby ensuring that such people get the right treatment early on before the mental issues become much more severe and destructive. The three groups of variables that are used to detect motor vehicle accidents at risk of psychological problems include the individual’s characteristics prior to the vehicle accident, the variables related to the accident, and finally the variables present after the accident.
The variables prior to the accident include things like the inability to face past traumatic events, any mental health issues that the individual has been suffering from previous to the accident, and lack of support from loved ones. All these have been identified to be major contributors towards the onset of PTSD among people who have suffered from a vehicle accident.
Variables related to the accident include the extent of injuries suffered by the individual, the loss of loved ones in the accident, and potential threats to life have all been observed to be excellent indicators of the possibility of PTSD and other mental problems. With greater physical injury and fear of death, the individual is at higher risk of PTSD.
The variables post the accident includes the speed with which the individual recovers from their injuries, how engaged they are with their work, whether they have been receiving proper love, care, and support from their family and friends etc. People who have suffered from an accident injury must try to live a life that is closest to their lifestyle previous to the accident. Even if the injuries are severe, the individual is still advised to stick to their usual way of life since that will help in faster recovery. The role of family and other loved one is very critical in ensuring proper mental balance.
The Treatments Available For PTSD Caused By A Vehicle Accident
PTSD resulting from vehicular accidents differs from the regular PTSD in one major way – there is a very high likelihood that the individual will start developing chronic pain once they start suffering from the trauma. And this is mostly the reason why people who have suffered from car crashes usually go and visit their primary physician for treatment and generally neglect visiting a professional psychologist for help with mental health or asking advice from an accident attorney. Various studies have shown that half the people who avoid psychological treatments typically tend to suffer from mental health symptoms for over 6 months. And this usually worsens as the time passes. As such, it is extremely critical that survivors quickly seek out psychological counseling rather than avoid it indefinitely.
Among the many treatments that have been successful with PTSD, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, and medication are the most used. The survivor will also benefit greatly by seeking the help of a good chronic pain expert who can help them deal with the physical pain. In some cases, the individual will receive multiple treatments at the same time, which can speed up the recovery process quite significantly.