Understanding the Emotional Impact of a Personal Injury

With the recent tragedies striking both the communities of Humboldt and Toronto and leading to the loss of dozens of innocent lives, the nation has been forced to come together in solidarity. And in doing so, a remarkable thing has taken place. We have seen the human capacity to foster resilience in the face of trauma.

Resilience is an important trait that can help us to adjust, not just from a physical perspective, but emotionally as well. Resilience is an adaptive coping mechanism that can vary on an individual basis and has been found to correlate with emotional adjustment. In fact, literature suggests that improving one’s emotional adjustment may increase adaptive coping.

As such, when formulating a treatment plan for an accident victim, their post-accident emotional presentation as well as their level of adjustment should be carefully considered and targeted for treatment.

It is important to be on the lookout for several key indicators of emotional trauma following a motor vehicle accident or injury, including:

  1. Re-experiencing the trauma, including nightmares, flash-backs and reliving the memory.
  2. Emotional reactions, including anger, sadness, feeling numb, fear and anxiety.
  3. Avoidance behaviours, particularly for things that might trigger memories or serve as reminders of the accident.
  4. Altered self-perception and world view, such as feelings of guilt, difficulty with trust.
  5. Hyperactive nervous system and arousal symptoms, such as feeling tense, increased heart rate, sweating, etc.

Two common disorders that can develop after experiencing a trauma are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). If symptoms are persistent and begin to interfere with normal daily functioning, it is important to seek professional help and contact your doctor.

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