Emotional Trauma in Children Following an Auto Accident
I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Attorney in Sacramento. Traumatic events, such as car accidents, are scary for everyone involved. This is particularly true if there are children in the vehicle. Emotional health should not be overlooked because children may have trouble processing what happened.
Mental Health is a Serious Issue
In recent years, mental health has received a lot of attention. This attention is essential for reducing the stigma that mental health often receives. Mental health concerns are just as real as any other medical illness or injury. Many soldiers return from overseas with psychological health concerns, such as PTSD, along with traumatic injuries. Millions of people in the United States have other forms of mental health concerns. According to a study by Superior Health Foundation, 50% of people will meet the criteria for a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. About 20% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition annually. Examples include depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Recently, the psychological health of children has become a significant concern. Some vital statistics regarding mental health and children:
- Based on a study by the Federal Register, one out of every five children will meet criteria for a mental health disorder annually.
- According to the National Institute for Health, about half of all mental health conditions will show by the time the person is 14 years of age.
- A study performed by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that one in every ten children will have difficulty performing activities of daily living due to a mental health condition.
Acute events, such as car accidents, can take their toll on children as well.
Emotional Responses to Car Accidents
Recently, a review article was published detailing some of the emotional difficulties that people can face following a car accident. If the crash involved a rollover event or serious injuries, this has a higher chance of leading to mental health problems down the road. Examples of typical psychological health problems include:
Nightmares: Individuals could have difficulty sleeping at night due to nightmares or night terrors.
Flashbacks: People often relive the traumatic event, indicative of a more profound mental health concern. They could lose awareness of their surroundings during this time.
Reactions of Children to a Traumatic Event
Children experience traumatic events differently because they may not fully understand what has happened. Their brains are not fully developed yet, and they do not have the life experience to place a severe event into perspective. Younger children do not understand life and death and are particularly vulnerable following an accident. There are a few signs of emotional trauma that parents should look out for. Based on a recent research study, signs and symptoms can include:
Developmental Regression: Children with developmental regression lose milestones that they had previously attained. For instance, a child who was already potty trained may start wetting the bed again. They may begin crawling again whereas they could walk before.
Emotional Swings: Children may also show wild mood changes. They may show reactions that are out of proportion to a situation. They could also throw unexplained temper tantrums that are out of their character.
Along with difficulty eating and sleeping, these are all signs that a child is struggling to process emotional trauma.
Assistance with Emotional Trauma
Seeing developmental regression in a child can be concerning for parents. Parents should take their child to see a professional counselor so that they can get the help they need. It might also be helpful to speak with an experienced car accident attorney in Sacramento. Accidents involving children are always risky, and they should be investigated to the fullest extent possible.
Related Articles by Ed Smith
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Attorney in Sacramento. If you or a family member is struggling with emotional trauma following a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.
I am proud to be a trial attorney in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
My guests are invited to look at our verdicts and settlements.
Image Source: The picture at the top of this site was originally found on Deposit Photos and has been reproduced here with permission
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