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Updated by James C. Lawrence, Jr. on Jan 08, 2019
Headline for Common Signs of Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish Following an Accident
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Common Signs of Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish Following an Accident

In Louisiana, as in many other states, a person who is harmed due to the negligence of others is entitled to receive compensation for their injuries. Not all injuries, however, are physical. Many experience emotional distress after an auto accident. Sometimes emotional illnesses – like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias– can be debilitating and even life threatening. Look for these common signs of emotional distress and mental anguish.


Acute Stress Disorder

Acute stress disorder often manifests right after an accident. Common symptoms are:

• Reliving the trauma through recurrent thoughts and distressing dreams
• Being in a persistent bad mood
• Dissociative symptoms such as time slowing, seeing oneself from an outsider's perspective
• Feeling like you are in a daze
• Won’t talk about accident and avoiding questions about the accident
• Sleep disturbances
• Irritability
• Problems concentrating



Depression often develops following an accident. Common indications of depression are:

• Feeling tired/lethargic
• Loss of interest in engaging in usual activities
• Feeling hopeless
• Changes in appetite
• Change in sleep patterns
• Feeling guilty
• Suicidal ideation and/or suicide attempts


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD, sometimes referred to as shell shock, often follows a traumatic event, such as a serious accident. It may take a while for PTSD symptoms, which are similar to acute stress disorder symptoms, to manifest. They are usually long lasting. Common symptoms of PTSD include:

• Emotional detachment
• Irritability
• Aggression
• Flashbacks of the accident
• Nightmares about the accident
• Reliving the trauma of the accident over and over
• Feeling emotionally detached from everyone around you
• Increased drinking
• Avoiding places or situations that remind you of the accident
• Lapses in memory
• Suicidal thoughts



Anxiety often follows an accident or traumatic event. Common symptoms of anxiety are:

• Panic attacks
• Difficulty with concentration
• Feeling nervous or restless
• Persistent feeling of apprehension
• Hyperventilating
• Feeling tense
• Fear of driving or of engaging in other activities that remind you of the accident
• Gastrointestinal issues



Some people following a car, truck or other vehicle accident develop specific phobias that interfere with their lives. These could include:

• Fear of driving (venophobia)
• Fear of riding in a vehicle (amaxophobia)
• Fear of traveling (hodophobia)