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Don't underestimate the effects of trauma after a crash

Being involved in a mass transit crash can be a traumatizing event. Even if you didn't suffer serious physical injuries, the memories of the accident can stay with you for a long time.

Any vehicle crash can cause lasting psychological trauma. However, train, subway, bus and other crashes that involve many injuries, and possibly deaths, can be especially difficult. Sometimes, passengers are trapped in their seats, unable to be extracted for hours. The things they witness during their entrapment can cause anxiety, depression and other issues that require therapy.

Many of our readers likely remember the deadly May 2015 Amtrak accident. On its way from Washington, D.C. to New York City, the train derailed in Philadelphia on a sharp turn as it traveled over 100 miles per hour – more than double the speed limit.

One psychiatrist addressed the potential psychological impacts to the survivors of the crash. He said that people are typically in shock for several days following a traumatic event. After that, however, they can begin to show signs of acute stress disorder.

He said, "They might have recurrent memories of the event so they keep thinking about it over and over again. So I am almost feeling like I am back sitting in the train compartment and going through the crash." He noted that people who already suffer from anxiety, depression or other mental health issues are more likely to be seriously impacted by a traumatic event.

The doctor recommended that survivors talk about what they experienced and how they feel to help them process everything. Even though a survivor may experience nightmares that make them hesitant to go to sleep, he said that sleep is essential for the mind to heal and recovery to begin.

When anxiety and other emotional issues don't subside after a few weeks and they're keeping people from being able to work, care for themselves and their families and handle other daily functions, it's wise to get help from a mental health professional. This can help minimize the chances of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other long-term issues.

If you've been involved in a mass transit crash, even if your physical injuries were relatively minor (or you suffered no physical injuries), don't underestimate the psychological impact and the treatment you may need. An experienced attorney can help you seek compensation to cover those and other expenses and damages.

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