Spinal Cord Injuries Can Effect Mental Health

We often think of paralysis as being a physical condition. However, due to the major physical changes in the body, mental and emotional complications are also typically suffered by people with spinal cord injuries. In fact, research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information indicates that roughly half of the individuals who experienced spinal cord injuries also suffered from various mental health issues, the majority of whom suffer from depression and anxiety.

Mental Health Can Be Compromised as a Result of Paralysis

A person who suffers from a spinal cord injury endures sudden life changes. Besides the limb paralysis, so many other functions of the body are compromised. Because of the loss of physical movement and function, people who are paralyzed lose much of their independence.

That’s not the only change. People who deal with physical inabilities may lose their jobs, which impacts their financial situations. Even someone's social roles may change. In going through this sudden life alteration, the way a person views himself may be different than before, and he might question his part in various relationships. A person who has become paralyzed is on a continuous rollercoaster of emotions: sadness, anger, worry, fright, and confusion. This can lead to conditions of depression and anxiety.

What Are the Signs of Depression and Anxiety?

Depression is often accompanied by a feeling of sadness, yet it's so much more than that. The serious impact of depression causes a change to overall mood, thoughts, and behavior. People who are depressed suffer these common symptoms:

  • Sad woman in wheelchairSadness
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Lack of motivation
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Appetite changes

Anxiety is another mental health disorder often suffered by people who have endured spinal cord injuries. Here are some of the ways anxiety may be displayed:

  • Worrying
  • Obsessing over certain thoughts
  • Panic attacks
  • Irrational fears
  • Stomach aches and pains
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling faint
  • Increased sweating

What Can I Do if I Have These Symptoms?

The emotions you’re experiencing may make you feel as though you're lacking in some area, but you should understand that depression and other mental health issues aren't your fault. Instead of turning to alcohol or drugs, which would definitely make the symptoms worse, please seek the help of a mental health professional.

Other than counseling and therapy, antidepressants or other medications may help you regain your confidence and sense of self. Additionally, there are many support groups for victims of spinal cord injury you can join, including online support groups. Be open about how you are feeling with your family and friends—the people who care about you and your recovery.

Let Us Help If We Can

While you are suffering through these changes, let us help you get compensation for your losses. This compensation may be for your loss of wages, help with medical bills, and money for your mental and emotional damages due to your loss of independence. We at Shevlin Smith would like to assist you in receiving the maximum compensation to help you maintain quality of life. Contact our law firm at (703) 591-0067 to speak with a personal injury lawyer in a free consultation today.