Friend's Car Triggers Woman's PTSD

On June 18th, 2015, a reader wrote in to Detroit Free Press’ Amy Dickinson’s column, Ask Amy, for advice. The woman faced a significant dilemma when she encountered the car of a new friend she made. The problem is that the care is the exact make, model, and color, of a car that was involved in the death of her infant son. However, this new friend is the closest friend she has made since moving to a new area. So, should she lose a friend as she is unable to ever ride in the vehicle and face painful memories or should she pretend that she isn’t suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and grin and bear it?

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Many people don’t realize it, but car accidents, especially ones that results in death, can be a very traumatic event for people to experience. Car accidents can scar a person with major anxieties and severe depression. Even years after an automobile crash, victims of PTSD may be triggered to remember the traumatic event even by the most minor reminders. For example, hearing a car horn, driving by the scene of the accident, or in the case of Amy’s reader, seeing a car the same make, model, or color of a car involved in the crash, may bring back memories of the motor vehicle accident. Some people even struggle to get into a car let alone drive a car, after a traumatic crash.

The only treatments for PTSD include various types of therapy and sometimes medications. Some of these therapies include cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Sometimes these therapies are combined with pharmaceutical treatments such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, which are prescribed in order to help people cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is recommended that if symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder last longer than a month after the traumatic event, the victim should see a doctor as soon as possible. 

We do not know if Amy’s reader is undergoing therapy, but Detroit Free Press writer Amy gives her good advice when she tells her to tell her friend about the problem with her car. She also says, “Ideally your friend's possession of this vehicle might help you replace the terrible and traumatic association with a more benign one.” With the right therapy or counseling, this reader may be able to do just that. As always, victims of automobile accidents who feel the anxiety and depression of PTSD should follow the advice of their medical care providers. 

Of course, PTSD is not the only negative consequence of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Aside from mental injuries, car accidents more often cause physical injuries. If you have been physically or mentally injured in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys help victims of car and motorcycle crashes handle insurance company problems and make sure that any medical bills are paid. Speak to a lawyer today by calling 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation. Our attorneys will make sure you are compensated for any pain and suffering you may be entitled to under Michigan law.