Auto accidents impact millions of people every year. Experiencing one is likely to cause a lot of trauma, which is one element of your personal injury case that can be the hardest to handle. For example, suffering from intrusive memories of the event will force you to experience these events in a frightening and unhealthy way.
Exposure therapy can improve your chances of recovery by allowing you to manage your PTSD consciously.
Intrusive Memories Can Be a Challenge to Overcome
The American Counseling Association defines intrusive memories as recurring instances of traumatic events you relive in your mind long after the event has occurred. These memories are not just simple remembrances but are painful flashbacks that can put a person back into the traumatic situation. When these intrusive memories arise, this can complicate your emotional and physical recovery.
Intrusive memories can affect all five senses when they occur, and they often include:
Visual remembrances of the crash, such as the look of the car struck at the moment of impact
Audio flashbacks, such as the sound of the glass crashing around you
Olfactory (or scent) memories, including the smell of gasoline emptying your engine
Taste sensations, such as the flow of blood in your mouth after you bit your tongue in the crash
Touch memories, including the pain that occurred at the moment of impact and during your recovery
When you suffer through these intrusive reminders of your accident, this will cause a variety of reactions in the body, such as increased heart rate, dilated pupils, nausea, sweaty skin, depression, and severe anxiety.
Intrusive memories are often unpredictable, meaning that they can strike at just about any time. As a result, you need to go through exposure therapy to minimize the personal injury the crash caused.
Car Accidents Trigger Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Anybody who has been through a car accident can attest to the fact that time seems to slow down while it occurs. Every moment of the crash becomes etched in the memory in a way that makes the crash impossible to forget. All of these reactions relate to the trauma of experiencing a life-threatening or dangerous car crash.
Therefore, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is the common emotional aftermath after a crash. This issue comes out in a number of ways, including depression, anxiety, and regular, occurring intrusive memories weeks – or even months – after the crash occurred.
In many ways, these intrusive memories are the most troubling personal injury you'll experience. After all, you cannot treat them with physical therapy but only with specialized mental health care.
Exposure Therapy May Help
If you have PTSD after a severe car accident and you can't get a handle on your life, consider exposure therapy. This treatment method exposes you to elements of your trauma in a way that makes handling them easier for you.
For example, a certified specialist will coach you into remembering the events around the time of the auto crash and will help you to seriously consider them in a way that focuses on your emotional recovery.
The idea here is to force your conscious mind to examine what your unconscious mind wants to process. The trauma associated with your car crash is painful for your brain to grasp, which forces it to try to relive the crash against your conscious will. Forcing yourself to examine the events in this way can prevent recurring memories by resolving much of the trauma related to the crash.
That said, overcoming the physical and emotional scars of an auto accident is never going to be an easy process. In some instances, you might have to go through therapy to manage the pain or even pursue a lawsuit. Contact Marienfeld Law, PLLC, to learn more about car accident lawsuits and the ways they can help you recover from the trauma of your accident.