Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is often associated with war veterans, but as a Seattle car accident lawyer, I have seen how this terrible psychological trauma can affect victims of auto accidents. Suffering from PTSD can have wide-ranging effects that can destroy relationships, job performance, and a person’s overall wellbeing.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?


- S: (n) posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD (an anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as survivor guilt, reliving the trauma in dreams, numbness and lack of involvement with reality, or recurrent thoughts and images)

PTSD goes beyond a simple anxiety disorder or panic attack – it can stick with people for their entire lives. Some of the more common effects of PTSD are symptoms such as insomnia, flashbacks, hypervigilance, nightmares, depression, and a loss of interest in everyday activities. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder varies between people who suffer from it. Sometimes the disorder can result immediately after the accident, while other times it arises weeks, months or even years afterwards. What separates PTSD from a more typical anxiety disorder is that it is persistent and significantly disrupts the life of the victim.


While a typical anxiety disorder can sometimes be caused simply by irrational fears, PTSD must be triggered by a significant level of trauma or a singular event. It takes some kind of physical or physiological trauma to lead to PTSD.

This trauma can involve:

- Death threats directed at oneself or a loved one
- war trauma
- a serious car accident
- abuse or assault
- Rape
- Childhood Neglect
- Natural Disasters
- Death of a loved one

PTSD occurs because of the same fight or flight mechanism we have that guides many of our daily decisions. In the case of someone suffering from this disorder, however, the adrenaline and fear that are associated with this mechanism can be sparked by the mere thought of a previous traumatic experience. This moment in someone’s life can cause an overactive adrenaline response in situations that do not call for it. If this happens relatively frequently and over a long period of time, it is a clear case of PTSD.

There are a variety of treatment options for post-traumatic stress syndrome patiens, including counseling, eye movement desensitization, cognitive and behavioral therapy, and medications.

If you have been in an auto accident and are noticing potential signs of PTSD, you should contact a medical professional as soon as possible. It is also a good idea to seek compensation for these mental scars if the accident was someone else’s fault. Contact an experienced Bellevue injury lawyer and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Author's Bio: 

Jason Epstein is a partner at the Seattle and Bellevue personal injury law firm Premier Law Group. As a Washington injury lawyer, Bellevue auto accident attorney and Seattle car crash lawyer, Jason has fought insurance companies for over 10 years. You can also get his books on Washington auto accidents for free by clicking on the preceding link.