Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It is only human to have a strong emotional reaction after being involved in a serious accident. However, some individuals who go through a traumatic experience will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after someone experiences or witnesses a life-threatening event.

PTSD is a serious and potentially debilitating disorder that can interfere with virtually every aspect of life, including relationships with friends, family, and colleagues. People suffering from PTSD are also at an increased risk of developing physical health problems and are more vulnerable to developing other mental health issues, such as depression.

If you or a loved one experienced PTSD after a devastating accident, contact the Houston Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder attorneys with The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at to find out how we can help you.

Common Causes of PTSD

People can develop PTSD after exposure to a traumatic event, witnessing a traumatic event, learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma, or indirect exposure to the details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics).

Examples of traumatic events that can cause PTSD include:

  • Violent acts such as sexual assault or domestic abuse
  • Combat exposure
  • Serious accidents, such as a motor vehicle accident, explosion, or any other life-threatening event
  • Burns
  • The sudden death of a close friend or loved one
  • Natural disasters

Risk Factors

Anyone can develop PTSD. It is estimated that somewhere between 6 and 30 percent of trauma survivors develop PTSD. Certain risk factors can make people more vulnerable to developing PTSD following a traumatic event, including:

  • Pre-existing mental health issues
  • Family history of anxiety
  • Childhood history of abuse
  • Sleep disorders
  • Lack of support system following a traumatic event
  • Previous exposure to dangerous events or traumas

Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD are generally grouped into the following four categories:

  • Reliving the traumatic event – Intrusive thoughts may include unwelcomed memories of the triggering event, recurring nightmares, reliving the event as if were happening again in the form of flashbacks, or experiencing emotional distress when seeing something that reminds of the event
  • Avoidance – Trying to avoid speaking about the event, or avoiding people, places, or activities that remind of the event
  • Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the event – Feelings of numbness, hopelessness about the future, decreased interest in activities that were once enjoyed, feelings of blame or guilt about the trauma itself, difficulty experiencing positive emotions, or feeling isolated
  • Feeling on edge – Feelings of irritability or aggression, difficulty concentrating, sleep disruptions, risky or destructive behavior, always being on guard, or being easily startled

How is PTSD Diagnosed?

Mental health care professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) to determine if individuals meet criteria for PTSD. To be diagnosed with PTSD, an individual must have experienced symptoms for at least one month. There are three types of PTSD depending on the onset and duration of symptoms.

  • Acute – duration of symptoms is less than 3 months
  • Chronic – duration of symptoms is 3 months or longer
  • Delayed Onset – 6 months separate the traumatic event and onset of symptoms

Treatment of PTSD

PTSD is treated through therapy with a licensed mental health care provider. Types of therapy can include cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, group therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Treatment may also include the use of antidepressant medications such as SSRIs.

PTSD and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Experiencing a sudden and serious injury in a car accident, fall, or another traumatic event, can increase the risk of developing PTSD. Losing the ability to work and enjoy everyday activities, and worrying about your financial future in the aftermath of a serious injury can negatively impact your mental health. Serious motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common traumatic events people experience and account for over three million injuries each year in the United States.

Research suggests that being involved in a serious crash can result in various mental health issues and roughly nine percent of motor vehicle survivors develop PTSD. The most predictive factors for developing PTSD after a motor vehicle accident are the extent of the physical injury, fear of dying, and the loss of a loved one.

How a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you or a loved one have been injured in a serious, traumatic accident caused by another party’s negligence, contact the experienced Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C for help. With the help of our skilled personal injury lawyers, you may be able to recover compensation for past and future:

  • Medical costs
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical limitations
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical pain

Our attorneys can evaluate your case, help you understand your options, and aggressively pursue every opportunity for compensation. We understand how traumatic a sudden and catastrophic injury can be, which is why we will be by your side every step of the way–from investigation to trial.

We have over four decades of experience handling a wide range of personal injury cases, and we will fight for the maximum possible compensation for your case. Let us put our resources, skills, and knowledge to work for you so that you can focus on physical and emotional recovery.

Call us today at to receive a free, no-risk consultation.