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The Long-Term Consequences of Personal Injury: Recognizing Trauma

The Long-Term Consequences of Personal Injury-Recognizing Trauma

Personal injury can be a highly distressing and life-altering event. Regardless of the gravity of the injury, seeking compensation for the harm caused is absolutely essential to help your physical and financial recovery. Nowadays, personal injury lawyers are very vocal about the importance of compensation. Yet, too many victims are reticent about asking for compensation. Many choose to brush off the issue rapidly. 

In reality, there are many reasons why compensation is due. Firstly, an injury can leave you unable to work for an extended period of time as you recover. This can significantly affect your household income and put you at risk of debts. Secondly, even a minor injury may require medical assistance, which also comes at a cost. Finally, there may also be additional costs, such as repair costs for a vehicle or replacement costs of items that were damaged during the accident.  

But not all injuries are visible. Trauma can be a natural response to an accident. Unfortunately, invisible wounds such as trauma might not be immediately apparent. Yet, this doesn;t mean they can’t have profound long-term consequences on your life. In fact, unhealed trauma can last a lifetime, even long after physical injuries have mended and healed. As a result, it is essential to consider the different traumatic responses an individual can have after experiencing a life-changing accident. Trauma needs not only to be recognized and identified, but also to be considered as part of your compensation package. 

Below, we will explore some of the most common traumatic responses that may arise after a personal injury and how they can significantly impact your well-being.

Trauma & anxiety

Experiencing a personal injury is a harrowing experience in its own right. But it can also trigger feelings of fear, helplessness, and vulnerability that can become a part of day-to-day life. These strong emotions can manifest themselves as anxiety. Anxiety is wrongly described as excessive stress. In reality, it is a psychological disorder which is characterized by high worry and fear. When the brain struggles to process the distressing event properly, some situations can trigger panic attacks and extreme anxiety. These may not be directly linked to the accident itself. It could be for instance related to the route the individual took at the time of the accident, to external factors that were co-existing with the accident such as vehicles of a specific color or a sound that was heard at the time, or even memories of the accident. 

Individuals may become hyper-vigilant, and live in the constant anticipation of danger, which can lead to extreme struggle to trust their surroundings. Anxiety disorders can have long-term consequences, affecting a person’s ability to function at work, maintain healthy relationships, and even engage in daily activities. It can also lead to avoidance behaviors, which can reduce career progression, income opportunities, and the overall quality of life. 

Trauma and addictive behaviors

According to specialist dual diagnosis treatment centers, traumatic events such as an accident leading to personal injury can trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms. Indeed, the use of drugs and alcohol can provide relief when coping with extreme distress and emotional pain. Experts explain that treatment for addiction needs to recognize and address the underlying trauma in order to be successful. Indeed, hard substances provide a sense of relief, albeit temporary, that can be appealing to those seeking to escape the overwhelming emotional turmoil of a trauma. 

By offering a momentary sense of detachment from reality, illicit substances and alcohol can mask the trauma response. For many individuals going through addiction therapy, revisiting the trauma can also come as a surprise. Indeed, they have developed such elaborated coping mechanisms that many are not even aware that there is still a trauma memory. 

Trauma & paranoia

Paranoia is another potential outcome of untreated trauma, as individuals affected can develop a high sense of mistrust and suspicion towards their surroundings and others. This can be exacerbated by the absence of sufficient compensation for the injury sustained. The person injured can gradually develop the belief that there is no justice and that others will always take advantage of them. Paranoia is the mind’s effort to protect itself from further harm and disappointment. As a result, the brain’s threat detection system can become overactiver after the accident, which leads to a constant state of alertness and suspicion. 

Paranoia doesn’t necessarily mean that the person believes people are out there to target them. But they drive on the sense of injustice felt in the aftermath of the accident, and conclude that they can’t be safe from similar events happening again. This creates a sense of vulnerability, which can impact the person’s ability to form new relationships and engage in social activities with others. 

Trauma & depression

Untreated trauma can also lead to depressive disorders. Indeed, the emotional toll of a personal injury can be overwhelming, especially when combined with physical pain and challenges. The victim can develop profound feelings of hopelessness, despair, and sadness. The trauma of going through a difficult recovery process can dramatically change the structure of the brain, leading to neurotransmitter imbalances, which triggers depression

There is no denying that depression can have a deep impact on an individual’s life, affecting their energy levels, enjoyment of life, and motivation. Without proper intervention and support, the effects can linger, making the road to emotional recovery even more challenging. 

Trauma & PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the most commonly mentioned consequence of a trauma-related experience. Yet, PTSD is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed for individuals who have only experienced a minor accident. The truth is that one doesn’t need to be in a life-threatening event to sustain a psychological scar. The shock of an unexpected accident that can cause physical injury can be enough to trigger PTSD. 

Life with PTSD is difficult, as you may experience intrusive memories, nightmares, constant flashbacks from the scene of the accident, and emotional numbing. This can seriously impact one’s ability to function in daily life. It is also fair to say that it can also lead to shame and embarrassment, as many individuals feel ashamed to seek PTSD treatment for something as benign as a non-lethal workplace injury. Nevertheless, PTSD is linked to experiencing a profound shock, which has no correlation with how minor an accident might appear to external witnesses. 

In conclusion, being able to recognize your trauma after an accident is the first step of your journey to receiving the support and treatment you need. As such, it is important to address trauma as part of your compensation claim. 

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