PTSD & Trauma

At healthier minds we mainly focus and specialize in PTSD and Trauma after a car accident. Our clinicians are all trauma-certified and experienced in numerous types of trauma related therapeutic approaches. We understand how difficult dealing with accident-related trauma can be, which is why our treatment takes such pains to provide individualized treatment. We have treated many individuals with accident-related trauma and are aware of the incredible suffering you may feel. Our approach is one of compassionate caring; we will never minimize, invalidate, or judge your experiences.

About Auto Accident-related Trauma

Stress and trauma reactions to car accidents are one of the least understood and under-treated types of trauma. As more cars are on the road, car accidents are increasing. More than 10 million motor vehicle accidents happen each year; over 6 million people are injured or killed in car accidents each year. Some people who have been severely injured in a serious auto accident meet criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder as do many who witness a serious car accident and see people seriously injured or killed. While most people do not go on to develop PTSD after experiencing or witnessing a motor vehicle accident, some do. The reason that some develop PTSD while others do not is currently unknown.

In addition to driving-related fears following an accident or witnessing a car accident, some people experience characteristic PTSD symptoms, including:

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Survivor’s guilt
  • Self-blame
  • Shame
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Homicidal thoughts
  • Self-blame

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Memory Problems
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Feeling slowed down or fatigued

Physical Symptoms:

  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Insomnia or excess sleep

When Should You Seek Help

A person who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic car accident should first visit their physician or emergency room for treatment of injuries and then begin to see a therapist if they notice they’re not getting over symptoms of trauma. After witnessing or living through a car accident, the fear of driving can become a phobia and may cause a person to stop driving, which can affect a person’s ability to fulfill daily responsibilities and engage in other activities. Additionally, this fear may progress to other areas, such as fear of being a passenger or fear of using public transportation, leading to increasing amounts of time spent alone. Avoiding activities related to driving leads to a reduction of symptoms and reinforces the phobia. This can, if left untreated, lead to agoraphobia. Both those who witnessed and those who lived through the trauma of an automobile accident will likely experience worsening symptoms over time without treatment.

Treatment For Auto Accident-related Trauma

Healthier Minds auto-accident related trauma treatment is very detailed, you’ll undergo a series of evaluations to allow us to best understand the ways in which auto-accident related trauma is impacting your life. Our evaluation will determine if you’re self-medicating with drugs or alcohol and if you’re struggling with any medical complications of your PTSD. Our evaluation will let us determine the severity of your symptoms and the presence of any co-occurring disorders. Our team will help create a plan of care that meets all your needs – mind, body, and soul. We know that you’re more than a constellation of symptoms and we’re ready to help you on your journey toward recovery. We believe in a strengths-based approach, drawing on your strengths to help you heal.

Treatment approaches for accident-related trauma may include:

Interpersonal therapy (IPT): focuses on social relationships and re-establishing normal roles in life such as re-engaging with others, participating in social activities, and functioning normally in your previously established roles. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)  we will help you restructure maladaptive thoughts related to your accident and replace them with accurate thoughts. Dialectic behavior therapy (DBT) focuses on validating your experiences, stabilizing your emotions, and teaching you to cope with constant stress.


Each year, millions of people are involved in car accidents. Sadly, many of these motor vehicle crashes cause serious or even fatal injuries.

These collisions can be very traumatic, so it comes as no surprise that the American Psychological Association reported that motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population.

If you are involved in a collision, it is important to recognize the signs of PTSD from a car accident and to know your legal rights if you suffer from this serious disorder. This guide will explain everything you need to know.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of mental health disorder. It is caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. The condition affects an estimated 3.5 million adults annually.

While PTSD was once called “shell shock” and primarily diagnosed among members of the military who had fought in a war, experts now recognize that this psychiatric disorder can appear in anyone who faces trauma.

PTSD is different from the normal difficulties people have when adjusting after an upsetting event. While many people who experience a car accident or other trauma face temporary challenges but get better with good self care, post-traumatic stress disorder can last for years and can interfere with routine life activities.

As mentioned above, car accidents are the leading cause of this type of psychiatric disorder among the general non-military population. The American Psychological Association also reports that motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of trauma for men and the second leading cause of trauma for women.

Often, symptoms of PTSD from a car accident develop shortly after the collision. However, the Mayo Clinic explains that sometimes symptoms do not appear for months or even years after a traumatic incident.

Symptoms of PTSD are generally classified into four different categories:

  • Intrusive memories: PTSD victims may relive the traumatic event, experience recurrent unwanted memories, have upsetting dreams or experience severe distress or a physical response when faced with a reminder of the accident.
  • Avoidance: Victims suffering from PTSD may try to avoid anything that reminds them of the event and may refuse to discuss it.
  • Mood and thought changes: Victims may think negatively about themselves or others, have difficulty with memory, face challenges maintaining relationships and feel detached from loved ones, feel hopeless about the future or lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. It’s also common for PTSD victims to have a hard time feeling positive emotions.
  • Changes to physical or emotional reactions: Many people with PTSD are frightened easily, are always waiting for danger, experience difficulty sleeping or concentrating or feel overwhelming amounts of guilt or shame. Some engage in self-destructive behaviors such as drug or alcohol use.

These symptoms can become more or less intense over time and may be triggered by other stressors or by reminders of the traumatic car accident.

Many things can trigger PTSD after a car accident. Often these triggers will be related to memories of sights, sounds, and smells that occurred at the time of the accident. Actions related to driving can also be triggering (and may even set off a panic attack while driving).

Here are common triggers that can create symptoms of PTSD after a car accident:

  • Smells of gasoline, smoke, or fire
  • Hearing sirens from ambulances or fire trucks
  • Seeing first responders like firemen or emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Picking up car keys
  • Getting into the driver’s seat
  • The act of driving
  • Being a passenger in a car
  • Driving on the road where the accident occurred
  • High volume traffic
  • Witnessing another car accident

PTSD symptoms may go away within weeks or months, or may last for years–especially if not properly treated.

PTSD from a car accident is generally diagnosed after a psychological exam. A medical professional will use the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association.

After diagnosis, patients may be treated with therapy or medication. Some common examples of PTSD treatment include:

  • Cognitive therapy: This involves recognizing patterns that prevent victims from moving forward.
  • Exposure therapy: This helps patients to safely face memories that cause them to re-experience trauma.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: This is a special type of exposure therapy that involves using guided eye movements to change reactions to traumatic memories.
  • Medications: These may be recommended including antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or a drug called Prazosin to help suppress nightmares.

Request an Appointment

Request an Appointment

Date of Birth
Date of Injury

Need help with your decision? Let us know.

Virtual mental health care from top-rated Providers, who take insurance.

Healthier Minds dismantles stigma. Letting people know they’re not alone. And providing reliable access to in-network care.

How is this all possible?

We've Got Your Answers

Take a look at our extensive Patient Education Library. You can read about your condition and treatment options we have available. If you are unsure about the options, give us a call. Our staff is readily available for questions you may have.

We have streamlined our process and are utilizing the latest in technology to maximize your time with us. You can start by filling out our appointment form and downloading our patient registration. Our team will reach out with the next steps. 

We accept most insurance plans. We also accept payment from most PPO and indemnity plans. Please call us to make an appointment and we will answer any questions you may have.

We accept all major credit cards, ATM cards, cash, and personal checks. For your convenience, we have arranged a payment plan through a third party, which helps you receive your treatment in a timely manner.

Take a look at our ‘About Us’ page to read more about your provider. You can also read about other success stories through our testimonials.