Reactions to an event like a personal injury can leave the victim reeling with anger, hurt, helplessness, upsetting memories, and mild to severe anxiety attacks. Often, the victim feels unable to open up and talk to people, and anxiety and helplessness intensify, leading to severe mental repercussions. This article talks about the emotional effects of personal injury and how a trained psychologist can help in this situation.
mental responses to traumatic events
The human body has an inbuilt defense mechanism wherein it creates a stress response when faced with a personal injury. The body demonstrates a fight or flight response wherein the blood pressure rises, heartbeat increases, sweating occurs, and an immediate loss of appetite occurs. Even memories of the personal injury can provoke fight and flight response with the symptoms mentioned above, making the victim go through considerable mental stress and anxiety.
In other cases, it is seen that victims experience shock and feelings of denial about their personal injury. Some even try to block the memory of the injury because dealing with it seems too painful for them. In 60% of cases, victims of a personal injury gradually shift through these negative feelings and start feeling better in a few weeks.
A conducive environment, a support network of family and friends, and proper nutrition and recreation are some determining factors for self-mediated recovery from injury. However, in 40% of cases, issues continue and lead to PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Not taking help from a trained psychologist can be extremely detrimental in such situations.
People experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder feel extreme anxiety that causes loss of appetite, heightened heartbeats, and profuse sweating. The person may experience nightmares and vivid flashbacks, triggering extremely adverse reactions. There may be insomnia, anorexia, poor concentration, and disturbing panic attacks.
Stonewalling the incident, emotional withdrawal from people, socio phobia, and depression are a few of the common side effects of PTSD. If early help is not sought from a psychologist, the victim may turn to substance abuse and develop anger management issues. In many cases, the victim also slips into severe depression with fatal consequences.
There are many documented methods of treating PTSD, and they include sessions with a trained psychologist who encourages the victim to share detailed experiences related to the personal injury. Talking or writing about such experiences releases the emotional effect of these events, and every session brings about a reduction in the intensity of the trauma associated with the event.
Finally, the person learns to view the personal injury as an objective event that happened by chance rather than a life-altering condition.
Our psychology clinic in San Diego has a team of experienced psychologists and counselors who specialize in dealing with PTSD. Some of our standard curative models include Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Cognitive processing therapy, Eye Movement Desensitizing, and Reprocessing Theory and Narrative Exposure Therapy. Our therapies are principally trauma-focused, and we specifically focus on bringing objectivity and self-empowerment to the victim’s viewpoint.
the long term benefits of psychological intervention
We live in distressed, post-pandemic times where humans have become increasingly wary and physically distant from each other. Research shows that mental issues in the general population have shown a 70% hike in the last seven months. A victim of personal injury in these difficult times will have a heavy burden to deal with.
The non-availability of a physical support network, pandemic related stress, and a feeling of social disconnect are factors that will provoke severe negative responses from the victim. Talking to an experienced psychologist who can guide the victim through the process of grief, pain, and self-denial to a healthy and fulfilled existence may become a life-changing decision.
If you or a close friend or family member have been through a personal injury that has left you unable to finish daily tasks, concentrate or eat/ sleep properly, then don’t delay in seeking professional help. This is even more imperative when the bodily impact of personal injury has been severe. In such cases, psychological help is mandatory.
Remember, mental strength is not the ability to avoid darkness. Rather it is the capacity to withstand darkness and seek help, knowing that light will shine through.