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Dealing with PTSD after an Accident

After a car accident, driving can become stressful. Merging onto the freeway may raise your heart rate, change your breathing and put you into a cold sweat.

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may develop after experiencing a traumatic event such as a car accident that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. So how do you deal with Post Traumatic Stress after an accident?

For most people symptoms are only temporary lasting days, weeks or months and decrease as time goes on. Symptoms may be triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic events. There are three types of symptoms: increased anxiety and emotional arousal, re-experiencing the traumatic event and avoiding reminders of the trauma.
Gradually exposing yourself to thoughts, feelings and situations that remind you of the trauma is one type of treatment called Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy.

A woman who was in an accident on the freeway experienced symptoms of PTSD every time she drove during rush-hour traffic, in unfamiliar areas and in bad weather. She began driving 20 minutes to and from yoga once a week. On the drive there she would feel stressed from a long day of work. On her return home she was relaxed and happy. Over time she began to associate driving with good feelings again. This story demonstrates how we can reprogram ourselves through replacing bad associations with good ones.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only. You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

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