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Can a car accident cause you to suffer a panic attack?

Even if you manage to keep your anxiety under control, you may not be able to avoid panic attacks forever. After all, according to the Cleveland Clinic, roughly 11% of Americans have panic attacks every single year. These attacks are often unpleasant and can even mimic serious health conditions, such as a heart attack or stroke.

While your panic attack is likely to be uncomfortable and distressing, you do not have to worry about it killing you. Nevertheless, if you experience a panic attack during or after a car accident, it is important to go to the emergency room for a prompt evaluation.

Other accident-associated injuries

Motor vehicle accidents remain a primary cause of both serious injury and death in the U.S. Luckily, if you suffer a catastrophic injury in a crash, your body’s response to it is likely to alert you to a problem. That is, you are apt to have pain, mobility issues or other injury-associated symptoms.

A panic attack messes with your brain’s ability to recognize the symptoms of physical injuries, though. Indeed, when you are in the throes of a panic attack, you may not realize you have other injuries. This is true even if your injuries are catastrophic or life-threatening.

Your medical interests

The immediate aftermath of any car accident is often a blur. If you are having a panic attack, though, you are virtually certain not to be thinking clearly. To improve your odds of making a complete recovery, you should not hope your distress is solely due to a panic attack.

Ultimately, your medical interests require you to seek care from an emergency physician who can give you a full examination to ensure you are physically O.K.

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