A catastrophic injury can affect mental health

| Jul 3, 2021 | personal injury |

If you were in a North Carolina motor vehicle collision, you were no doubt grateful for the rescuers who arrived at the scene to render aid. If you suffered a catastrophic injury to your neck, spinal cord or brain, it’s likely that someone transported you to a trauma center or local hospital for emergency care. You may even have spent several days or weeks in the hospital.  

It’s important to closely monitor your condition after suffering a severe injury, whether it happened as a result of a car accident, sports injury, workplace accident or some other circumstance. A catastrophic injury can have long-term consequences and can affect many aspects of your life, including your mental health.  

A catastrophic injury might make you feel frustrated or powerless 

Most emergency room physicians would agree that a person who has suffered a severe injury should begin to feel a bit better each day once a care and treatment plan is in motion. However, with a spinal cord, neck or brain injury, you might experience a partial or full, permanent disability. Even if you received a prognosis that suggests a full recovery in time, getting there can be difficult.  

Some days might be better than others as you strive to recover from a catastrophic injury. Because your daily routine may be drastically disrupted, you might experience a sense of frustration, especially if you need assistance for basic tasks, such as personal hygiene or eating.  

Ways to overcome mental health challenges during recovery 

It can be difficult learning to rely on others when you’re used to doing things for yourself. Feeling a sense of achievement again might help lessen your frustration. Many recovering accident victims find it helpful to set achievable goals each day. For instance, if doctors have predicted that you’ll likely be able to walk again after a spine injury, you can set goals for taking a certain number of steps each day. 

Thinking about the future can be daunting 

There might be a lot of unknown factors regarding how full of a recovery you’ll be able to achieve and what your resulting quality of life might be. It can be mentally stressful to worry about the future when you have no way of knowing what it might bring. To alleviate mental distress, it’s a good idea to try to focus on the present moment and take note of any progress or good thing that happens. 

Perhaps you’re able to take a drink of water by yourself when you could not do so the day before. Celebrating small steps toward recovery can help lessen the mental strain that a catastrophic injury can cause in your life.  

Build a strong support network from the start 

Your loved ones, close friends, medical team and others can hold key roles toward helping you recover from a catastrophic injury. Knowing that you can tap into local resources to help with a specific issue enables you to focus more on getting rest and feeling well while other capable people help you to resolve problems as they arise, especially if the issues at hand involve legal matters.