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shootings, or automobile accidents. The Canadian Mental Health Association notes that “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is caused by a psychologically traumatic event involving actual or threatened death or serious injury to oneself or others”. It is estimated that 1 in 10 Canadians suffer from PTSD, and it can affect anyone, young or old. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin to appear approximately three months after the traumatic incident. The most common symptom is the experience of flashbacks of the traumatic event, which can be triggered by various sights, sounds and smells. The person may then start to sweat excessively, become visibly distressed, and their heart rate could increase. Another symptom is the intentional withdrawal from family and friends. The person will generally tend to avoid any person or situation that reminds them of the incident. They also will often withdraw socially because they want to avoid having a PTSD episode in front of others - fear of onset in a public or social setting is another cause for their choice of social isolation. A third major symptom is known as hyperarousal. This means the person will have difficulty falling asleep, increased irritability and difficulty concentrating. Car accidents are perhaps the most frequent kind of trauma

people deal with today. We live in a world where driving is often a necessity of daily life. But along with driving comes the risk of being involved in a car accident. According to Statistics Canada (Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics Report: 2004); there were over 300,000 collisions reported in Canada in 2004. And although our country is a relatively safe place to drive in comparison to other countries around the world, that same year there were 148,866 collisions involving personal injuries of which 17,533 were seriously injured. Given that about half of the people involved in these accidents are at higher risk for developing PTSD, highlights the prevalence of this condition in our current society. Dr. Edward Hickling from the University of Albany, State University of New York, and Capital Psychological Associates in Albany, specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and motor vehicle accidents. He notes that many people involved in a motor vehicle accident likely develop PTSD, but do not seek treatment because it is not widely accepted. Dr Hickling went on to say that the other reasons people fail to get treatment is that “they need to deal with more pressing issues in the first month like getting physically better, getting the car fixed, returning to work, etc. There is a lot of pressure for people to not look as if they were psychologically affected. This is unfortunate because people will suffer emotionally when there are very effective treatments available”. The most effective way to deal with the symptoms of PTSD is the participation in cognitive-behavioral treatments, group therapy sessions or exposure therapy. Patients will discuss the trauma, write about it, and learn to become comfortable driving a car again. These sessions help the affected person think about the trauma in a healthier way, and relive the experience in a controlled environment. If you or anyone you know have experienced a trauma, and are noticing persistent symptoms that last longer than a month, it is best to seek professional help as soon as possible. PTSD can have a major impact on your day to day living and functionality, and without proper treatment it can lead to secondary conditions thereby adversely affecting the person’s life on a social, professional and personal level. Seeking help in the early stages of onset is highly recommended to enable the person to work through the associated issues and regain their life back. The Driver Magazine

Jan - Feb 2009

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The Driver Magazine January 2009  

The Driver Magazine features automotive based articles that cover reviews, news, lifestyle, education and trends.

The Driver Magazine January 2009  

The Driver Magazine features automotive based articles that cover reviews, news, lifestyle, education and trends.

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