Coping Emotionally And Mentally After Personal Injury
Life can change in many different ways after a personal injury.
The emotional trauma and psychological effects of a car accident for example, can follow you throughout your life. They're not just confined to the physical injuries that heal with time; these painful emotions and mental issues can last far longer after an injury has healed, which could be detrimental for both mental health and future opportunities in employment, or enjoying hobbies and family gatherings, due to reduced quality-of-life levels caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The psychological impacts don’t last a few days or disappear once they've healed – instead this trauma causes lasting scars on people who survived them, including difficulty managing relationships at home and difficulty concentrating at work, because their emotional distress makes it hard to remember what happened when we replay memories over again during daily routines, such as commuting to work in the morning.
People who recover from accident injuries can face hours or days of flashbacks after something triggers memories that prompt their minds to remember every detail, when their minds are under stress. They can also experience sensory overload and anxiety during busy periods such as supermarket queues, which adds extra pressure on people's nerves when they're trying to control their feelings.
Given the intense psychological effects that accident injuries have on people's mental health and affect on their daily lives after an accident, it's important to work with your mental health provider to manage emotional health, while also attending counselling sessions so you're able to cope with emotions that you've been feeling since the accident.
Mental Health & Wellness
For people who may be suffering from PTSD, or other accident related mental health issues such as anxiety and depression – admitting there is a problem can be the hardest step to take. Despite this fact, it's important for accident victims to remember that these feelings of guilt and blame do not apply to them. The accident was not their fault and they should work toward learning how to live with the physical and emotional setbacks that accompany a traumatic event, so they can move on with their everyday life.
The accident may have changed your life, but it does not mean that you can't recover and move on with your current or future plans. Many accident victims are able to manage their emotions by talking about what happened before the accident; this allows them to understand how they're feeling better, after accident injuries. It also helps them create new goals for themselves that will help them get back into employment or pursue hobbies like fishing or spending time with family members.
Mental Health Professional
The job of a mental health professional is to help people work through their personal psychological symptoms, which often stem from accident related injuries. A Mental health specialist is trained in a number of different techniques that can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy and counselling.
A mental health professional will talk about what happened during the accident so they can work through the victims emotional distress such as feelings of loss, grief and anxiety that accident injuries bring. They'll help accident victims to gain positive coping mechanisms while teaching them to practice relaxation techniques, such as mindful breathing, which they can use at home.
A mental health professional will often work with accident victims at their own pace, to help them adjust to their daily life if they've suffered the loss of a limb or experienced accident related disabilities.
Counselling can be one-to-one sessions involving accident victims who want to find out how they feel about what happened during the accident. Or it can be done in private sessions with other accident victims who can talk to other victims about their traumatic experiences without interruption.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is one of the most common forms of psychological treatment, because it provides accident victims with an outlet to discuss their intense emotions, helping them to work through what happened during their traumatic injury.
Unlike physical injuries, traumatic stresses are very serious accident injuries where victims experience feelings of anxiety, fear or loss. These accident related trauma's require professional help to come to terms with what accident injuries have done, which is why accident victims are encouraged to seek counselling to cope with accident related feelings.
Any traumatic event victims have experienced should be discussed with a mental health provider, who is trained in trauma counselling.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If accident victims are struggling with the emotional impact and develop symptoms such as social isolation, lack of self care, physical harm, difficulty adjusting to normal life or if they feel worse or are not getting enough sleep, experiencing anxiety attacks or depression after their traumatic injury, they should seek medical attention as they maybe starting to develop PTSD.
PTSD is often associated with victims who experienced physical and emotional injuries from things such as natural disasters, a terrorist attack, car accident or any other traumatic event involving death or loss of a friend or family member. A mental health specialist should be able to help victims realise that their feelings are part of PTSD accident injuries, which are common and are all common symptoms, after an accident.
Accidents Involving Death
If accident victims experience panic attacks, anxiety and depression because of the way they feel since the death of a loved one during an accident, counselling sessions can help them come to terms with what happened. Working through thoughts about how it occurred will also be discussed in these counselling sessions, which will also open up discussions about any anger related issues i.e. feeling angry, at the same time. They will also provide helpful information on coping strategies and how to regain control during the healing process. They can look at what things trigger anxiety, risk factors and make reasonable efforts to reduce repeated exposure to the emotional trigger that may occur in everyday life.
Physical pain, physical injury, treatment, fear, emotional trauma and mental illness are all injuries accident victims must try and deal with, and it is important for victims to take care of their mental well being. This is achieved by focusing on their health and seeking support from their family and friends when needed, which can help to improve quality of life.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
Just like physical injury, friends and family need to be able to identify the signs in someone who might be struggling emotionally or coping with accident related trauma, and encourage them to seek medical attention. Not everyone will show physical symptoms so they should ask accident victims if they're feeling suicidal, anxious or experiencing any other emotions.