Drivers in New Mexico may think that if there are no physical injuries due to a car accident, then it is back to business as usual once any property damage is fixed. Unfortunately, this is not the case for some accident victims.  Many suffer from mental and psychological responses that result in feelings of anxiety, fear and nightmares surrounding the accident.

According to KTAR News, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common occurrence after a car accident. Symptoms may include flashbacks of the accident, difficulty sleeping due to bad dreams and upsetting memories.

Very Well Mind reports around 9% of accident victims develop PTSD, although this percentage is higher for those who are currently getting treatment for mental health issues. Studies have determined that there are certain risk factors that increase the chances of someone getting PTSD. These factors include:

  • The death of someone due to the crash
  • The catastrophic injuries of someone due to crash
  • Having been involved in previous traumatic accidents or events
  • Experiencing dissociation while the accident was occurring
  • Severe emotional response to the accident
  • If there was support from others after the crash

The severity of the accidents is not the only factor in the development of PTSD.  Even accidents that do not end up being serious can generate PTSD, especially if the accident could have been life-threatening.  Symptoms may not show up until weeks, or even months, after the accident. While some trepidation is normal after a traumatic event, help should be sought if the following symptoms are severe and do not go away over time:

  • Jumpiness or hypervigilance while in a car
  • Avoidance of driving in situations, or of driving completely
  • Anxiety and heightened responses while driving