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DUI Victims May Experience PTSD after the Accident

Because Georgia drunk driving accidents are so traumatic, injury victims and their families may experience Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD after the crash.

You may associate PTSD with soldiers coming home from Afghanistan or Iraq, but PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after any life-threatening traumatic event. People experience PTSD after natural disasters, assaults, and accidents. Atlanta DUI victim attorney Shane Smith sees many accident victims who experience PTSD as a result of their injuries. After all, drunk-driving accidents occur suddenly; there is no way to mentally prepare.

Criteria for PTSD

  • A person experiences a trauma that was life threatening or that led to a potential or actual injury.
  • The person felt intense fear, helplessness, or horror during the trauma.

Anyone who is involved in an Atlanta drunk driving crash may experience symptoms of PTSD. They may re-experience the accident through nightmares and flashbacks, they may feel detached from everyday life or estranged from family and friends, they may have difficulty sleeping, they may feel the need to be on guard, and they may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with or avoiding reminders of the traumatic situation.

Family members of Atlanta DUI victims may also experience PTSD. It is hard to accept losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligence. The family member may feel angry and hurt. PTSD can be the brain’s way of dealing with tragedy.

Some of the symptoms of PTSD are normal reactions to trauma. It is not at all unusual to have stress reactions such as nightmares after a traumatic event, but when these reactions continue for a month or longer or get worse and affect the victim’s daily life, the accident victim may have PTSD.

PTSD usually develops within three months after a Georgia DUI accident, but in some cases symptoms may not appear till years after the trauma.

If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD after a Georgia drunk driving crash, it is important that you speak to your doctor. PTSD is treatable.

Atlanta DUI victim attorney Shane Smith helps drunk-driving victims throughout Georgia. If you have been injured in an Atlanta DUI accident, request a free copy of Shane smith’s book, I Was Hit by a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? If you would like to discuss your accident with Shane Smith, contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at 866-979-1629 to schedule a free legal consultation.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia