Spinal cord injuries are some of the most devastating types of injuries that someone who is involved in an accident can experience. Though paralysis may be the end result, it is possible that at least a certain degree of recovery could be accomplished via rehabilitation. While following a serious accident that leads to a spinal injury the focus is most often on physical recovery, the injured individual could also be suffering psychological injuries as well.
It is not uncommon for individuals in this situation to experience depression related to their injury. When individuals living with long term disabilities are concerned, research indicates up to three in 10 are depressed. The symptoms of this include changes in:
- Sleep and activity level
- Problem solving
- Mood and outlook
- Thoughts of suicide
Looking specifically at individuals who have a spinal cord injury, the risk of suicidal thoughts is highest in the five years immediately following the injury.
A recent study focused on the role mental health plays in the recovery from a spinal cord injury or serious stroke. The study, in which monkeys with spine injuries were used, focused on the part of the brain the controls motivation—the nucleus accumbens. Researchers discovered that blocking the activity of that portion of the brain resulted in suppressed activity in the motor cortex portion of the brain which slowed recovery.
Those results pointed to the fact that during the early stages of recovery, the nucleus accumbens improves motor function by activating neurons. To help motivate patients at that point in recovery, psychological support could be important.
Depending on the injury someone suffers the psychological impact may be greater than the physical. Regardless of how the life changing injury is incurred, if someone is hurt as a result of the negligence of another, it may be possible to recover damages via a lawsuit. Anything secured in a positive outcome could make the life of that person easier.