After your recent car accident, you had a physician look you over to ensure you did not sustain injuries. Nothing major came back, but you still feel “off.”

While you may feel fine physically, the accident may have injured you mentally and emotionally. Determine if you have a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver by learning more about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Intense emotions after an auto accident

Shock, nervousness, anxiety and fear are all normal emotions to experience after a car accident, no matter how minor. It is when you experience persistent anxiety, uncontrollable memories of the accident, excessive irritability and dissociation that you may want to consider whether you have PTSD. Such negative emotions associated with the accident becoming stronger or lingering in your mind and body can affect your day-to-day life, making it difficult for you to function, work or enjoy your life.

Addressing trauma

Take steps to sort out your trauma healthily and productively. For instance, talking with a mental health specialist or your friends may help, or engaging in exercise could help minimize your stress. If you feel uncomfortable getting behind the wheel of a car after your accident, consider taking a defensive driving course.

Include your doctor in the healing process. You may feel uncomfortable having such a vulnerable conversation with your doctor, but remember that physicians do not exist to judge, but to help. You can ask if what you feel is normal after an auto accident, how long you can expect your feelings and thoughts to persist or if you have an underlying or undiagnosed mental health condition making you feel the way you do.

Not all car accident injuries are visible. Take steps to protect and advocate for your health and your legal rights.