Extreme stress is defined as a belief that either your own life, or someone else’s life, is in immediate danger. Largely because of either sexual assault trauma or an accident, about 55 percent of people experience such trauma during their lives. As outlined below, not all these individuals develop PTSD, but many do.
Both the aforementioned types of events could involve some legal liability issues. Human error, which is generally negligence, causes over 90 percent of the car accidents in Kentucky. And, if a sexual assault occurs away from home, the property owner could be legally responsible for any resulting injuries.
But in terms of brain injuries like PTSD, liability is secondary for a Lexington personal injury lawyer. The first priority is to get victims the help they need. Most attorneys can quickly connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance. That’s a good thing especially in this context. The longer brain injuries like PTSD go untreated, the harder they are to address.
What is PTSD?
You read that right. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a physical brain injury. PTSD is not a processing disorder which randomly affects some people.
Extreme stress, as defined above, alters brain chemistry. For reasons which are not entirely clear, extreme stress shrinks the cerebral cortex. This part of the brain controls logical responses to stressful situations. When the cerebral cortex shrinks, the amygdala, which controls emotional responses, expands. This imbalance explains PTSD symptoms like:
- Nightmares, and
- Loss of interest.
Think about a rider on a wild horse. A strong rider can control the horse. But if the rider is weak, for whatever reason, the horse runs wild. That’s a picture of the cerebral cortex/amygdala balance.
Post-traumatic stress is a natural reaction to extreme stress. If the above described symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, or they get worse instead of better, the trauma victim probably has PTSD. Most researchers believe that the extent of trauma, as well as the person’s genetic makeup, determines who develops this condition, which is also known in military circles as an OSI (Operational Stress Injury).
Head injuries, such as PTSD, are very difficult to diagnose, especially if they are trauma-related. Many doctors ascribe immediate symptoms to shock from the accident. Further complicating matters, only a brain scan shows the aforementioned chemical imbalance. And, even if the physician performs this test, many doctors do not know what they are looking for.
Like many head injuries, PTSD is not that difficult to treat if it is caught early. Once advanced symptoms appear, this condition is much more difficult to control.
“Control” is the key word. Like other traumatic brain injuries, PTSD is incurable. However, as outlined below, the proper treatment approach can enable these victims to live mostly symptom-free lives.
A combination of therapy and drugs is the most effective treatment for PTSD victims. The trick is to find the right combination. Often, this process is largely trial and error.
Therapy helps victims avoid PTSD triggers and build healthy habits. However, brain injury therapy is a lot different from other types of physical therapy. For PTSD patients, progress usually occurs in fits and starts. A sudden breakthrough might come on the heels of an extended plateau.
It’s important for attorneys to keep the money flowing as long as possible. If the insurance company stops funding, victims have little hope of getting better through therapy. So, even after the judge’s gavel falls, a lawyer must keep advocating for you.
Drug therapy with MDMA, a drug similar to Ecstasy, has shown considerable promise. As a bonus, this promising treatment usually only involves a few doses. So, there is little risk of drug dependency.
Insurance companies often balk at experimental treatments like this one. Once again, an attorney’s advocacy is key. Once insurance company lawyers review medical reports and patient records, they usually back down.
PTSD is a physical injury, just like a broken bone. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.