PTSD Car Accident: What Are The Most Common Events That Can Lead To PTSD?

Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC

Published 12/24/2020

According to the National Institute of Mental Health or NIMH, post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD impacts about 3.6% of the adult population aged 18 and above in the United States annually. Post-traumatic stress disorder can impact people of all ages and is both a treatable and common mental health condition. If you’re searching the term “PTSD car accident,” you might be wondering, “can being in a car accident cause PTSD?” This article will answer this question and talk about the most common traumatic events that can lead to PTSD and the history of the condition and find support for PTSD.

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Can Being in A Car Accident Cause PTSD?

Being in a car accident can absolutely cause post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, some sources say that it’s one of the most frequent causes of PTSD. Although people talk about post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, they frequently refer to people in the military. War is not at all the only traumatic experience that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, post-traumatic stress disorder can develop after one experience or witnesses any traumatic event. This could include but is not limited to assault, violence, natural disasters, abuse, or something else.

Most Common Causes Of PTSD

Here are some common events that can lead to the development of PTSD:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Physical assault or violence
  • Sexual assault or sexual trauma
  • The sudden death of a loved one, such as a close family member
  • Personal illness or injury

This is not an extensive or full list, but it does reflect prevalent examples of events that people with PTSD may have lived through.

About PTSD

Here are some facts and statistics about post-traumatic stress disorder that you may not know:

  • While the condition can impact people of all genders, post-traumatic stress disorder is more common in women than in men. According to statistics released by the National Institute of Mental Health or NIMH that looked at statistics on PTSD over one year, 5.2% of women experienced post-traumatic stress disorder in a year, where 1.8% of men experienced post-traumatic stress disorder in a year. A higher prevalence of PTSD in females is shown both in adolescents and adults.
  • According to statistics released by the National Institute of Mental Health or NIMH, the highest prevalence of PTSD is seen in those aged 45 to 59, and the second-highest prevalence of PTSD is seen in those aged 18 to 25.
  • A family history of PTSD is a risk factor for PTSD and increases the potential risk of developing PTSD themselves.
  • Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event will experience or develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

How Do I Know If I Have PTSD?

Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may include but aren’t limited to:

  • Re-experiencing a traumatic event through flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts or memories of the event
  • Avoiding places, people, or stimuli that reminds one of the events
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Hypervigilance or feeling as though one is on high alert
  • Feelings of guilt, sadness, depression, anger, or shame
  • Blaming oneself for the trauma that occurred
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability

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In young children, you may see additional or different symptoms of PTSD. One common symptom seen in kids six years old or younger with PTSD is the reenactment of a traumatic event or memory during playtime. Even with the symptoms of PTSD in mind, the only real way to know if you have PTSD is to see a medical or mental health professional who is qualified to diagnose mental health disorders, such as a psychiatrist.

Treatment For PTSD

Many people find therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder beneficial. Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is a well-researched, effective, and frequently used form of therapy used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is a non-invasive and short-term form of therapy that is very popular and tends to be the first line of treatment for a number of disorders or concerns. It can be conducted online and in-person and is effective either way through research. Another popular form of therapy used for post-traumatic stress disorder is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or EMDR therapy. Like cognitive-behavioral therapy, it can be conducted both virtually and in person. Some people choose to see a psychiatrist in conjunction with a therapist to treat PTSD in some cases. For all advice and information regarding specific treatments or therapies, always talk to a medical or mental health professional.

Finding Support For PTSD

If you are searching for a trauma therapist after a car accident or similar event and aren’t sure where to turn, you might want to reach out for help, but perhaps you aren’t sure where to turn. Here are some ways to find a mental health provider:

  • Make an appointment with your primary care provider or a general doctor and ask for a referral to a therapist or counselor.
  • Contact your insurance company and ask who they cover in your area, or visit their website, if applicable, to see who they cover in your area.
  • Conduct a web search by typing search terms such as “trauma therapist near me” into your browser of choice.
  • If you are a college or university student, utilize your on-campus resources. Sometimes, college campuses have mental health centers with therapists or counselors on staff.
  • Use an online mental health provider or therapist directory of your choice.

If you are interested in remote therapy or counseling, you may search for a provider in your area who offers remote sessions, or you may use an online therapy service such as better help. If you’re struggling to find a provider, don’t hesitate to use the provider search tool located in the upper right-hand corner of the Mind Diagnostics website. To use the tool, simply type your zip code into the search bar, click the magnifying glass, or press “enter” on your keyboard.

Peer Support For PTSD

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Peer support is not a replacement for treatment from a medical or mental health professional, but it can be advantageous for people who have survived trauma or who have PTSD. Peer support connects you with others who understand what you’re going through and have been through something similar. One popular type of peer support is support groups, which can be conducted both in-person and online. You can find a support group in your area by searching for “trauma support groups near me" using your search engine of choice, asking a trauma-informed therapist near you if they know of any support groups that meet near you or can help you find one, or find a trauma support group through an online support group directory. One website to use is traumasurvivorsnetwork.org. They have centers throughout the nation with a number of support groups, including support groups dedicated to specific traumatic events. Just click on the center closest to you to see what support groups they offer. You might also find support groups through the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) support group finder.

You can also use online support communities or forums. Here are a couple of free online support communities or forums for those with PTSD:

Mental Health America Groups (Through Inspire)

Mental Health America has a solid number of support forums on inspire.com, including one for post-traumatic stress disorder. They also have a schizophrenia support forum, a schizoaffective disorder support forum, an OCD support forum, and more. Click here to visit the PTSD support form on inspire.com.

The PTSD Forum On Mentalhealthforum.net 

Mentalhealthforum.net also has a number of active mental health support forums for different concerns, including anxiety, grief, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more. Click here to visit the post-traumatic stress disorder forum on mentalhealthforum.net.

The PTSD Forum on Psychforums.com

Psychforums.com, like mentalhealthforum.net, has many active mental health forums for members to use. Click here to visit the post-traumatic stress disorder forum on their website.

The History Of PTSD 

Post-traumatic stress disorder was first recognized formally in the third version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or DSM in 1980. However, the term was used informally before the release of the DSM-3. Knowledge regarding medical and mental health disorders is always evolving, and the diagnostic and statistical manual has changed over time with every edition released. One of the most recent developments noted when it comes to PTSD and how it is recognized or diagnosed is that when the most recent version of the diagnostic and statistical manual or DSM was released, the category in which PTSD appeared changed. Before the most recent version of the DSM, which is the DSM-V, post-traumatic stress disorder was recognized as an anxiety disorder. In the DSM-V, post-traumatic stress disorder is now recognized under the category of trauma and stress-related disorders.

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Take the Mind Diagnostics Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Test

Are you wondering if you might have post-traumatic stress disorder? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test. The Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test is free, fast, and confidential. Although taking the test is not a replacement for a diagnosis from a medical or mental health professional, the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test can give you insight into your symptoms and what you’re going through and taking the test might just be the first step to getting the help that you need. While PTSD can affect people of all ages, the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test is for those aged 18 and older.

To take the Mind Diagnostics post-traumatic stress disorder test, click the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/ptsd-test.