An accident often leaves people with injuries like broken bones or whiplash. These physical damages that we can see and feel are often difficult to deal with and recover from. They also impact our mental health in myriad ways.
Physical injuries affect the brain
Physical injuries can have direct effects on the brain, which can in turn damage one’s mental capacity and health. For example, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can include these symptoms:
- Mood changes
- Issues focusing
- Difficulty sleeping
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Memory problems
- Coordination issues
- Slurred speech
So many of these symptoms of a TBI have both physical and mental repercussions. They often have direct impact on a victim’s ability to move through life as they once did.
Physical injuries create circumstances that damage mental health
Physical injuries can put you in frustrating and limiting circumstances, which can lead to mental health woes.
- Difficulties with fine motor skills and focusing
- Physical limitations, like being confined to a bed or unable to drive
- Lack of mobility leads to a stagnant lifestyle, which can contribute to poor mental health
One study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health (NCBI) demonstrates the link between physical injury and mental health, finding that participants who were injured were 3.24 times more likely to be hospitalized for mental health conditions than those who hadn’t been hurt.
Mental illness affects your physical health
Mental health issues can also affect physical health and the ability to recover. According to the Mayo Clinic, many mental illnesses manifest themselves in physical symptoms, including stomach pain, headaches, back pain and other types of chronic pain and aches. Mental health issues can also lead to damaging behaviors, like stagnant lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits, withdrawal from social circles and sleeping issues. These habits can compound the effect of physical injuries.
Similarly, mental injuries stemming directly from an accident, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can create not only mental repercussions, but also physical ones as it interrupts one’s daily life with anxiety and flashbacks that often keeps them from full recovery.
It is important that we recognize not only the physical, but the mental challenges that accompany accidents and injuries. Though others may not be able to see them, mental health issues are very real and can be life-changing after an injury.