Q: I was driving home from work the other day when I was hit by a car that tried to run the red light. My car was totaled but I was uninjured. My passenger was badly shaken up and screamed in horror. The problem is that now I am having nightmares and I get very anxious when I am driving. I keep hearing that scream in my head. I need to be able to drive. Please help me!
A: It sounds like you are experiencing classic symptoms of PTSD, post-traumatic stress syndrome. PTSD is a psychological condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a frightening event. The symptoms may include “flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the event”. PTSD will often trigger memories of sounds, tastes, and a looping of the experience.
PTSD is not an unusual reaction to a motor vehicle accident (MVA). MVA’s are often experienced as trauma, and result in PTSD, grief or fear. Often the victim will experience all three. Treatments for these issues are clearly different, but they can be treated effectively. The sooner counselling begins, the more effective the treatment. The issue for the individual is often the cost and availability of counselling and many people do not know that car insurance will often cover the costs of counselling.
Although your motor vehicle insurance may cover the costs of counselling, it is frequently difficult to find a therapist who is licensed under the Health Claims for Auto Insurance board (HCAI). If the therapist is not licensed, the therapist cannot receive payment from your auto insurance. Obviously, HCAI does not license individuals who do not have the appropriate skills or training to provide the service needed. The process to be licensed by HCAI is neither quick nor inexpensive.
Fortunately for you, Dr. Elayne Tanner is licensed under HCAI and when counseling is approved, she can submit a treatment plan and can bill your auto insurance directly. If you have suffered an injury or loss from an MVA that has left you experiencing sadness, grief, fear, insomnia, headaches or jaw pain from clenching your teeth (TMJ), stress or anxiety or any resultant psychological injuries, please call to book an appointment so that we can help you return to your pre-accident functioning as soon as possible.