Millions of individuals fall victim to personal injury accidents each year. Even sadder than this statistic is how most people overlook the extent of hurt that victims experience. In addition to physical and proprietary damage, these situations also severely affect a person’s mental well-being. Often, even those suffering from crippling physical injuries disregard the toll their injury can have on their mental health.
What Is Personal Injury?
Personal injuries can be bodily harm or emotional distress. Specifically, personal injury refers to any physical, mental, or emotional damage caused by another person due to intentional, negligent, reckless, or malicious actions. Some examples of situations that may cause personal injury are:
- Accidents. Personal injury applies to situations where an individual or entity acts negligently, which causes harm to another person. Examples include car crashes, slip-and-fall accidents, dog-bite cases, and medical malpractice.
- Intentional Acts. In these situations, an individual or entity’s deliberate behavior, such as assault and battery, causes harm to another person.
- Defective Products. These include any injury sustained from the usage of faulty products, which can be consumer goods, medical devices, and vehicles.
- Defamation. Making defamatory claims and slandering an individual’s reputation also counts as a personal injury.
What Are The Mental And Psychological Impacts Of Personal Injury?
Physical injuries are the most commonly acknowledged results of accidents. However, mental, emotional, and psychological impacts arise from accidents as well. These effects can come from the situation that caused the injury itself. But they can also stem from the physical injury sustained from that situation.
A victim can obtain a broad spectrum of mental health issues from personal injury. On the mild end of the spectrum, professionals observe
- mental anguish,
- emotional distress,
- shock, and
- feelings of sadness and anger.
But for more severe cases, victims of personal injury can develop:
- Adjustment disorders
Individuals experiencing adjustment disorder have extreme levels of stress after a traumatic event. Often, this distress can cause problems in a person’s daily life. It can manifest as anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and having difficulty concentrating. When it comes to more severe cases, it could cause avoidance of and withdrawal from loved ones.
- Severe anxiety
For personal injury victims, anxiety might escalate into panic attacks. Victims may also develop avoidant coping methods. For traumatic events, the stress and fright might make the victim overly tense and fearful, leading to insomnia or increased blood pressure.
Trauma may cause victims to develop an irrational fear of something specific. For example, after a car accident, a victim may fear driving or even riding a car. Similarly, a dog-bite victim may develop a fear of dogs. These phobias can interfere with a person’s ability to function daily.
Feelings of sadness and grief that last for a long time can consume a person. They might lose interest in hobbies they used to enjoy. They may also become extremely lethargic or moody. These consequences of depression could strain their personal relationships and sorely affect their outlook on life. More severe cases can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Personal injury victims may develop PTSD after a traumatic event. Its symptoms include
- vivid flashbacks,
- intrusive thoughts,
- mood swings,
- behavioral changes,
- pain or nausea,
- numbness or detachment, and
These could lead victims to develop maladaptive coping strategies, such as excessive smoking or drinking.
- Chronic pain disorder
Victims may also suffer from acute pain because of psychological stress. Though the feelings of pain are real, it is not directly linked to any physical injury. Additionally, the pain they experience may be non-specific. Chronic pain disorder often develops with other mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
In addition to the emotional and mental trauma that can stem from the accident itself, personal injury can lead to
- bodily harm,
- reputational damage,
- loss of employment,
- financial issues,
- lost wages, or
- diminished earning potential.
All of these pose adverse effects on a person’s mental health.
How Does Therapy Help Personal-Injury Victims?
Any accident can cause physical injury and emotional distress. Through therapy, victims can learn how to cope with physical and psychological trauma in healthy ways. Personal injury victims can employ various therapy treatments and methods to improve their mental well-being. Among these are
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). This modality helps victims identify and understand the thought patterns keeping them stuck. Afterward, CBT helps them change their dysfunctional thinking and make room for healthy coping mechanisms.
- Exposure therapy. This method helps victims safely face situations and memories they may find frightening. It enables them to learn how to cope with their trauma healthily. In particular, exposure therapy is helpful for people with PTSD.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Combined with exposure therapy, EMDR uses a series of guided eye movements to help victims process their traumatic memories. Through this method, they can change their reactions to those memories.
- Psychodynamic therapy. This method helps depressed victims understand and cope with their feelings and unresolved, often unconscious, conflicts.
- Alternative therapies. These can include yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and other treatments to help the victims manage stress and other symptoms of mental health problems.
What Are The Benefits Of Personal Injury Therapy?
Personal injury victims enjoy personal and legal benefits from therapy. Some advantages involving the former include:
- understanding their emotions and behaviors,
- setting realistic and sustainable goals,
- learning skills to address their symptoms,
- adopting healthy mindsets and perceptions,
- developing healthy coping mechanisms,
- managing stress and emotions better,
- regaining a sense of control, and
- finding pleasure in life.
From a legal perspective, the process of getting compensation for personal injury leading to emotional or mental harm is complicated. It’s harder to prove unless backed by professionals. Personal injury psychiatry offers verification and legitimacy to these claims. Evidence from professionals relieves concerns about fraud and allows the victim to receive proper financial compensation.
Therapy is indeed crucial for personal injury victims. In addition to getting proper mental health treatment as part of their recovery, therapy also helps them receive the compensation they deserve. With the help of a mental health professional, they can work through their trauma and start their mental healing.