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Managing Mental Health after a Physical Injury

For accident victims, mental recovery after the physical injury has healed is one of the final obstacles to moving on with their lives. Although their physical health has been restored, their mental and emotional health continues to suffer. They are hesitant to receive medical attention from a psychologist or doctor, even though the compensation from their accident would cover such care. Luckily, simple solutions exist for mental recovery after the physical injury had healed. However, in order to apply these solutions, the accident victim must first admit to having difficulties with his or her mental recovery.

One stumbling block is the inability to move on from being wronged. Frustration with the physical limitations that resulted from the accident injury is common. Accident victims often question the fairness of the injury and the limitations that have been thrust upon them. Denying the challenges of managing mental health after a physical injury will prevent accident victims from accepting valuable support from family, friends, and professionals that may be able to help.

Difficulty with mental recovery after the physical injury has healed may also be attributed to physiological factors. While overcoming depression may be a matter of managing mental health after a physical injury, it may also entail addressing a chemical imbalance in the brain. After an antidepressant or other medication has been prescribed, identifying the source of the depression is the next step toward mental recovery. Below are several steps to finding the underlying causes preventing accident victims from mental recovery after the physical injury has healed.

  1. Define the emotion, such as, "I am frustrated, angry, or resentful." Understanding the problem will allow accident victims to address and, eventually, resolve it.
  2. Gratitude lifts the spirit, allowing an accident victim to give grace and receive help. Accident victims who are grateful find managing mental health after a physical injury much easier.
  3. Becoming consumed with negative thoughts and emotions will prevent you from mental recovery after the physical injury has healed.

This may sound cliched, but there is much truth to this adage: Gratefulness lifts your spirit, allowing you to give grace and receive help. Those who are grateful recover much better than those who are self-absorbed. This does not mean that you are wrong for the feelings you identified in step one.

Instead, it means that you need two current, emotional identities, the first, your anxious and resolving self, the second, your grateful and helpful self. Don't believe it? Consider this scenario. In your worst moments, if you saw a child lost in a store, without her mother, only 4 years old and desperate for help, would you walk away? If you said yes, because of your emotional state, then you need to develop this grateful, helpful self again. It is in there, but you are depressing it. Once you begin to give yourself permission to help others, and start to feel the return of your grateful and giving self, you will be amazed how quickly you respond to and resolve some of the worst residual anger, frustration and emotional turmoil thrust on you after an accident.

Once you begin helping others again, you will begin to feel the return of your grateful and giving self. You will be surprised how much this helps you to resolve some of the worst residual anger, frustration, and emotional turmoil thrust on you after an accident.

Dr. Sharmistha Barai, MD is a leading Child & Adolescent psychiatrist based in Saint Louis, Missouri, using her talents and expertise to treat clients for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar and personality disorders. Dr. Sharmistha specializes in general psycho-geriatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, drug and alcohol. She completed a MBBS degree (medical degree equivalent) at Lady Hardings Medical College, in New Delhi, India (2002).

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