You’ve experienced a terrible accident, and are suffering physically. However, the emotional wounds suffered may be just as painful. The mind-body connection is extremely powerful, and often forgotten.
I have seen many clients tearfully submit to a judge, jury or arbitrator the emotional impact of life-altering injuries. In fact, all 3 witnesses called on behalf of my client yesterday teared up when describing how my client’s life fell apart due to his severely injured back. Often, however, these injuries are overlooked or discounted.
The Body-Mind Connection
It has been known for decades that our mental state and the way we feel has an impact on our physical wellbeing. What about the converse? If you’ve suffered a physical injury, what toll does it take on your mental wellbeing?
After experiencing a life-changing accident, the injured party may experience thoughts such as: Will things ever be the same again? Will my personal injury claim take care of my financial needs? How am I going to support myself and my family? Will I ever play my favorite sport again? The mental impact of an accident needs to be addressed, and treated as importantly as any physical issue. The emotions attached to the change in physical health status, and the memories of the event, may have a direct impact on one’s mental health.
Therefore, it’s important to recognize and address issues related to the mental health effects of injuries, as a personal injury accident, such as a car accident or slip and fall, can lead to:
Isolation from Friends and Family;
Change in Sleep Habits;
Over consumption of alcohol or other substances, such as pain pills, in order to cope;
Anger or irritability;
Thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
In some cases, personal injuries can result in a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD may be diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist. PTSD may exist if the injured party is experiencing symptoms such as isolation, flash backs of the incident, nightmares or insomnia. A lack of motivation, anger, or memory issues may also be signs of PTSD. For more information on understanding PTSD and how to obtain help, please see National Institute of Mental Health.
Care for Mental Health Diagnoses After Suffering a Personal Injury
If you are experiencing mental health issues following an accident, please try the following:
Seek help from a professional. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional. He or she may be able to recommend a licensed therapist who specializes in trauma, mind-body recovery, depression, anxiety etc.
Practice self care. Take time to care for yourself. Get the recommended amount of sleep, eat healthfully, exercise and maintain a positive outlook. These steps will go a long way to improving your mood and outlook.
Meditate- Meditation has scientifically proven health benefits, and may increase immune function, decrease pain, and decrease inflammation at the cellular level. It may also increase positive emotion, and decrease depression, anxiety and stress. (Source: Psychology Today)
Accept Help. Lean on friends and family. Those that love you want to help. Don’t be modest about accepting help from your social network.
Join a Support Group. Support groups exist to help injured parties navigate through this challenging time. Please refer to Enjuris for additional information and resources.
Can You Obtain Compensation for Mental Health Issues Stemming From a Personal Injury Accident?
Individuals are entitled to compensation if they are suffering from emotional distress. However, the injured party will need to demonstrate the extent of the emotional distress, and present evidence of the underlying cause, intensity and duration of the pain through medical testimony.
With more than 100 years of combined legal practice experience, the lawyers of Noel & Bonebrake will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Whether your injury is the result of a motorcycle or auto accident, a slip and fall, a dog bite, a faulty product, or other accident, we will fight for your rights. Contact the law offices of Noel & Bonebrake today!