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Motor Vehicle Collision and ADHD symptom relapse?

Motor Vehicle Collision and ADHD symptom relapse?2012-06-24T12:41:41+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community Motor Vehicle Collision and ADHD symptom relapse?

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  • #90835

    Post count: 121

    About six weeks ago, I was involved in a major motor vehicle accident. Fortunately, the other person was 100% at fault and I’m grateful that my ADHD was not a contributing factor.

    When driving, I hyperfocus. Which is probably where one of the positive attributes of ADHD is helpful. I was driving on a county road when I saw the vehicle back out (at high speed) along a long driveway and figured they were gonna stop. People always stop at the end of their driveways, especially when driving backwards, right?

    The accident was severe enough that my 4X4 was totalled. Some of the eye witnesses said that at one point my truck was airborne and flipped. Luckily, my only injury was a cut finger. Wear your seatbelt.

    Now I am concerned that the collision my have caused a relapse of my ADHD symptoms. I have taken a very active approach to controlling my ADHD. I take my meds, work my counsellors, therapists and my psychiatrist. I am active in the ADHD community where I live. So it has been along battle to get to the point where I was in control of my ADHD, by and large, for the most part. I still have some issues that need attention (no pun intended). I think we all struggle with that, though.

    It seems now as if I never have done any of this. The symptoms seem to have returned to my undiagnosed state. And I’m wondering if this is something that happened to other people as a result of a collision. And my cognitive and executive functions seem also to be affected; being a little slower now. Is this mild PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

    My doctor checked me out and I have been x-rayed for the affects of a possible concussion or head injury. I do have shoulder and neck pain as a result of the trauma of being in a severe collision. That I expected.

    Are there any medical or health care experts out there that can offer some guidance as to what to do next? Is this something that will eventually return to where I was prior to the collision? Paging Dr. J!

    I have since seen my psychiatrist and he seems to think it’s a temporary phase and I’m reassured by that. But the symptoms still persist and I’m getting worried that this will not get better in the short term.

    At home, it’s not really an issue, but it’s at work that really concerns me. I have been fighting with the company for the last three years since my diagnosis to get accommodations for the ADHD. And begrudgingly and with a great deal of reluctance, the company has accommodated me only after a long protracted uphill battle to assert my rights, even to the point of threatening them with legal action up to and including the human rights commission. The same company that threatened to reduce my pay to “fund” my accommodation because I need extra time to complete my work relative to my peers. I know this is illegal, unethical, discriminatory and just plain morally wrong. But these are the kind of people I work for.

    Knowing all that, I can’t afford to lose any major momentum right now. My executive functioning skills have really been impacted by this and for someone in my line of work that can be a major problem. I’m in my late fifties’ with five years left to retire, I don’t want any chance of them looking for any work performance related issues to terminate me. I know they will take any advantage they can to do just that, using some sort of justifiable pre-tense. Or maybe I’m just catastrophyzing to use a therapy word for it.

    Now I have to deal with the insurance paperwork (and we all know that’s like kryptonite to people like us…). Do I disclose my recently diagnosed ADHD (about three years ago)?

    Up until the collision, I’ve had a perfect driving record; no at-fault claims. This is the first time in 35 years of driving that I have been involved in a collision of any degree. Even undiagnosed, I believe the ADHD never impacted my ability as a driver. I’m probably more alert when driving than most people without ADHD. Insurance forms can be rather intrusive, up to the point of requesting medical records and such. There is so much disinformation about ADHD that I don’t want to jeopardize my insurance rating.

    I know this is rather long, but I have been thinking very hard about the impact of all this and have tried to think my way all through these issues and can’t find any answers. I thought I may as well tap into the collected experiences of everyone using the forum.

    Things sure got complicated really fast and as someone with ADHD, things are complicated enough.


    Post count: 802

    I’m sorry to hear about the accident and I’m so glad that everyone is okay. Good reminder about seatbelts – it’s SO important.

    I think it’s common for trauma of any sort to trigger worsening symptoms of ADHD and I agree with your doctor that it will pass.

    For now, I think it’s reasonable to take some time to come to terms with what happened and let your body and mind rest, if you are able – can you get paid time off work for illness?

    If you can’t take time off, try to pace yourself and go easy on yourself. Even people without ADHD would be more forgetful or impulsive or ‘on overdrive’ after something like that.

    Can you let someone you trust know what’s happening and help you keep track of things until you’re in a more secure place?

    Good luck. I’m sure you’ll be fine quicker than you think!


    Post count: 162

    Glad to hear you are OK.

    For what it’s worth, I know my symptoms are greatly exasperated by anxiety, and that would certainly be the case for me after an accident.


    Post count: 1096

    Hi ADDled – goodness, it sounds like you’ve had quite an experience. I am glad everyone involved is physically OK. Crazy roadsense the other people had! I suppose the moral there is never assume the other driver is going to do the logical thing. Horrible for you.

    So firstly, I doubt the accident would cause a relapse of your symptoms directly, but it’s likely to do so indirectly. You are bound to be stressed as a result of this and stress, anxiety and lack of sleep all mess with ADHD symptoms. You must discuss this accident with someone who can listen and help – you are quite likely to have post-traumatic stress. If you keep re-living it then it might be post-traumatic stress. If not, then more likely plain stress and shock, which are enough to deal with.

    Also, you are stressed by the insurance stuff too. So once the stress is lifted and you regain your confidence in the car again the ADHD should settle. This is only my opinion and nothing more, but life experiences teach us things, although of course we are all different and react to things differently.

    Secondly the insurance thing is important. If the ADHD is on your medical record I would suggest you need to be upfront with the insurance company. It wouldn’t look good if they think you are trying to hide something. However, they may not delve into your medical history considering the other party must be completely at fault and it is in their interest to prove that, and not to find fault with you. If there are no questions on the forms relating to your medical history then perhaps keep quiet unless asked. You may need to get your doctor to verify that you are capable of driving and the meds don’t affect you.

    In the UK ADHD needs to be declared to the vehicle licencing people and the insurance company. As it turned out my insurers are not interested in anything medical! The driver licencing people wanted a medical report from my psych to say I am fit to drive. I was worried about it, but having seen the report form it seemed to be really just for people who are suffering from worse stuff than ADHD. It made me a bit paranoid when they were assessing me in case I had a bump.

    But insurance companies want to keep their money. So don’t lie to them and get your doctor on side if necessary. Do you know the people you hit? If you do and they know you have ADHD then you maybe better get in first with that info.? But your driving record obviously speaks for itself and since ADHD is a life-long thing, I wouldn’t have thought you need to worry. It’s not affected your driving ever has it? The numbers (years driving with no accidents) are proof of that so stick to the facts and make them do so too.

    I hope you get it all resolved. The most important thing is that everyone walked away in one piece.


    Post count: 121

    Thanks, everyone, for your kindness and encouragement.

    Today was actually the first day since the accident almost two months ago that I’m starting to feel more “with it”. To be honest, I never thought it would have impacted me this way. We like to think we can handle almost anything, then, Wham! Something out of the blue turns your world upside down. Somebody once said life is the only time where the lesson comes after the test.

    One of my friends at work suggested I should have really taken some extended time off after the collision because, with all the stressors at work, you’re really not helping your recovery at all. I’m going to see my doctor this week and see if I can arrange some extended time away from work for a while. Sitting 8 or more hours per day in front of a computer doesn’t help make my neck and back feel any better.

    As far as the insurance company is concerned, I will disclose my ADHD on the medical report. It’s not like I haven’t been proactive in getting treatment. You could say I was hyper-focusing on my treatment. After all, it wasn’t the cause of the accident. Here in Ontario, we have “no-fault” insurance which means you deal with your own insurance company and that sometimes limits your rights for “fair” compensation, although there are lawyers that will take on the insurance company on for you. I’m not a litigious person by nature and I don’t even want to go there. This can be a long drawn out affair and for me, just rehash everything that happened over a longer period of time. Time to move on.

    One thing I’ve learned after battling with my employer for accommodation for ADHD is that you have to not only advocate for yourself, but educate others as well. As I said, there are a lot of misconceptions out there; some personal, some institutional, about ADHD. I figured out a while ago that the only thing wrong with ADHD is how some people react to it with denial or prejudice or misinformation. If I have to teach the insurance company that ADHD, if controlled, is not any worse than any other medical condition, then I guess I have to do that.

    Thanks again, everyone!


    Post count: 913

    Many people, even those with ADD/ADHD don’t realize, or forget, or whatever, stress can amplify the symptoms. Anxiety, whatever you wish to call it, it exaggerates symptoms you already have, and can bring others to the surface – symptoms normally not bad enough to really notice become noticable.
    One way that works for some as far as regaining some sort of “control” if that’s even a good word for this, is to do the same things recommended for ANYONE under stress or suffering anxiety.
    Plenty of sleep, exercise (get blood circulating to the brain), proper breathing (I find myself breathing in such a way I’m actually breathless and at times, nearly hyper-ventalating (sp) And this just started for me a few months ago! (but then meds no longer appear to have any positive impact, symptoms are worse than ever, and yeah, lots of stress and crap at work, and alist of things to do so long it’ll never get done)
    Anyone finding themselves in a situation like the original post here – do what it takes (legally) to relax, reduce the anxiety or stress, eat well, sleep well, exercise, whatever helps you – and you might find the ADD back to a level where it was before the thing that caused the stress to begin with.
    HAHA – I can SAY it, but can’t DO it!


    Post count: 363

    What billd says makes a lot of sense. Most of us are good at imagining the awful things that could happen and every ripple of every nuance of what does happen to the Nth degree, compounded by externally stressful circumstances.

    I believe that my best way to control the problem is to control my environment and be  selective about what I allow into my home and mind.

    I’ve been in a very dark place for 2-3 weeks, feeling like I just don’t want to go on and can’t cope…high level of stress, stuck in a downward spiral & feedback loop, walls closing in, etc. I haven’t felt this bad in a long time. It’s frustrating to feel that bad and not be able to make it stop. It’s also frustrating to feel that bad after going for quite a while feeling essentially very good – and now everything is in the garbage can again, as if nothing I’ve done to cope with this problem has made any difference.


    What seems to help me:

    Change of scene – get some air
    Eat the highest quality of nutritious food available and take vitamin supplements
    Sleep as much as needed, don’t worry about the time
    Exercise (I returned to the gym last night after a 3 week hiatus – already feel better)
    Exposure to comedy – lighten the mood, whatever it takes
    Smell something pleasant  – when I’m loopy I like to go to my local organic foods establishment and sniff the lemongrass essential oil. Not kidding – it really helps. Citrus scents in general are good. And I’m not all earthy-crunchy about mystical substances or whatnot. It just happens to work.

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