In the immediate aftermath of a burn injury, most victims are focused primarily on survival. Skin grafts, bandages, compression garments, treatments for infection and surgeries take precedence over just about everything else.
That means that the victims often don’t have a lot of time to process their fear, depression and grief right away – and that can be considerable. It can (and often does) also progress to chronic mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
More than 45% of burn victims go onto to develop chronic stress disorders
The psychological impact of a burn injury has proven to be just as problematic and disabling as the actual burns. Psychological distress over burn injuries can manifest in numerous ways, including:
- Difficulty sleeping that can range from problems with nightmares to insomnia
- Reliving the event in flashbacks or through intrusive thoughts or whenever they’re in a situation that reminds them of the event that led to the burns
- Survivor’s guilt, when the incident that led to injury caused the death of friends, co-workers or relatives
- Obsessive fears or paranoia about anything that could lead to additional burn injuries
- Changes in personality caused by chronic depression or anxiety over their situation
- Turning to illicit drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the lingering trauma from the event
- Feeling like a burden to their loved ones over their dependency on others for assistance with things they used to be able to do on their own
It doesn’t help that many burn victims feel stigmatized by their appearance whenever their injuries are obvious. Body image issues can be intense, and they can cause burn victims to retreat from social activities and their loved ones alike both because they’re distressed by their own appearance and concerned about how their appearance may distress others.
After a burn injury, psychological care may be almost as important as other kinds of medical care, and it’s not something that should be put off. The victim’s recovery may depend upon it.
If you or your loved one has suffered a serious burn injury due to another party’s negligence, it may be wisest to find out everything you can about your legal options.