Car Accidents: The Number One Cause of PTSD

Mindful Healing_Car Accidents_The Number One Cause of PTSD

What is the Definition of PTSD?

In layman terms Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying traumatic event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. A traumatic event can include a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war, combat, physical or sexual abuse.

What is the #1 Cause?

Most people associate PTSD with veterans exposed to the violence of war and combat. Others associate PTSD with a form of physical or sexual abuse. The number one cause, however, is car accidents.  Technically the term is motor vehicle accidents (MVA).

According to the American Psychological Association, “Over one percent of the American population is involved in a serious (causing personal injury) motor vehicle accident (MVA) each year and a majority will experience at least a minor MVA by the age of 30. MVAs are considered the leading cause of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population and car accidents are the number one trauma for men and the second most frequent trauma for women…”

How Do I know If I Have PTSD from an MVA?

In a previous article, we define the difference between trauma and PTSD.  It is best to get assessed by a mental health professional to determine whether you have PTSD or any other mental health disorder. If you’ve experienced a trauma and notice changes in your thinking, behavioral, emotional, or arousal, and it is causing you distress or impacting your functioning, it is wise to seek treatment to get help with whatever changes you are experiencing. You can also reference an article that lists 22 symptoms of PTSD.

Why Seek Help after a Car Accident?

The short answer is to reduce your PTSD symptoms sooner. According to a national survey that examined 8,000 individuals, 40 percent of those who did not receive mental health treatment for PTSD resulting from either an MVA or other cause within six years following the trauma continued to suffer from PTSD for as long as 10 years after the initial trauma.

By seeking treatment, reaching out for support, and developing new coping skills, you can overcome PTSD and move on with your life. People who seek treatment find relief from their symptoms and go on to lead a healthy life. It is also important to know that it is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event or events occurred, which means it’s never too late to seek help.

Do I Need Insurance to See A Therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with PTSD and Trauma,