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The Psychological Effects of Serious Burn Injuries

People who have suffered serious burn injuries are all too familiar with the physical side of the injury. Fortunately, modern medicine has evolved over the decades to increase the survival rate and physical comfort of burn injury victims. However, such injuries come with hidden damage as well as physical damage and many patients suffer from severe psychological distress long after their physical injuries have started to heal.

Burn injury victims may experience psychological distress for a variety of reasons. The pain, the prognosis and the lengthy treatments associated with burn injuries are just a few.

Other causes of related emotional or mental distress include the following:

  • Worries over scarring and changes in physical appearance
  • Memories of the incident that caused the burn
  • Concerns about the possible loss of independence and physical abilities
  • Worries about how the burn will affect intimate relationships
  • Concern over the financial burden of treatment and recovery

When it comes to the specific psychological distress that victims may experience, the symptoms are broad and can be far-reaching. Traumatic events like burns have an intensely personal effect and no two victims will react in exactly the same way.

Here are several of the most common psychological problems burn victims may experience.

  • Sadness, hopelessness, and feeling alone
  • A sense of being isolated or distant from loved ones
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Anxiety, tension, difficulty concentrating and fatigue

Unfortunately, unaddressed psychological distress can interfere with a patient’s recovery and may worsen other medical problems. While a personal injury attorney cannot make a victim’s pain and distress go away, a lawyer can help in other ways. Helping California burn patients who were injured due to negligence or misconduct recover maximum compensation is just one way an attorney can aid recovery.

Source: Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, “Psychological Distress after Burn Injury,” accessed Aug. 04, 2016
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