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Psychiatric Injuries

Many people that suffer from psychiatric conditions develop such problems through factors that are not contributed to by the negligence of another, such as through genetics.

However, many others suffer serious psychiatric injuries independent from or in conjunction with physical injuries due to the negligence of another party.

If a person sustains serious psychiatric injuries, the effects can have a devastating impact on their life.

They may lose the ability to complete simple tasks around the home, continue employment or, in many circumstances, lead an independent life.

These potentially extreme changes in an injured person’s capability mean it can be a challenging time for them and their loved ones, both financially and emotionally.

Serious psychiatric injuries tend to be caused when a person is subject to a traumatic incident, such as:

  • A motor accident where they or others sustain violent injuries
  • An accident at work, for example, one that leads to them being in a dangerous enclosed space such as a furnace, leading to them fearing for their life
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Anxiety Disorders

Although there are many specific anxiety disorders with causes or symptoms exclusive to that particular disorder, all anxiety disorders cause sufferers to excessively over-think and worry and they tend to be scared about what the future holds based on real, exaggerated or untrue factors.

While anxiety disorders may arise through no fault of another party, many anxiety disorders develop when a person experiences a traumatic event due to another party’s negligence, subsequent to which they develop an anxiety disorder.

If the disorder is not an immediate result of the fault of another, it may still be attributed to that fault if the development of the disorder can be traced directly back to the negligence and the effects of it.

Types Of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders that may be triggered by the negligence of another party are described below.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This type of anxiety disorder consists of repetitive and obsessive thoughts that lead to compulsive actions as a result of a belief that certain acts will have a causal effect on the avoidance of a negative outcome, which may be very specific or general.

It is not logical to link actions that are not causally relevant to the avoidance of a particular harm to that harm and sufferers of OCD are aware of this, but are compelled to perform those actions anyway.

This disorder may be caused if a person experiences a traumatic event that compels them to believe that they must perform obsessive ‘ritual’ acts in order to avoid the reoccurrence of the traumatic event or similarly traumatic events.

Phobias

The blanket term phobia covers all specific disorders that describe where certain a stimulus or situation causes fear and anxiety in a person. The apprehension of this fear and anxiety leads a person to do everything in their power to avoid particular stimuli or situations because they think that traumatic experiences will result if they do not.

This covers all disorders in which specific stimuli or situations cause anxiety and fear for a person, who will do everything they can to avoid the stimulus or situation because they irrationally predict that horrifying experiences will result if they do not.

Those with phobias recognise that the fear they feel is not appropriate to the focus of their anxiety, but are unable to control the feeling.

A phobia of travelling in cars may develop if a person experiences the traumatic event of suffering or witnessing a violent motor accident. They may develop the irrational fear that all vehicles they ride in will crash and cause violent devastation, despite the fact that they understand that this idea lacks a basis in logic.

Panic Attacks

A person suffering from a panic attack will feel anxiety, terror and fear that may lead them to feel dizzy, confused and nauseous or even have trouble breathing or remaining physically composed.

Sometimes there is no obvious cause of a panic attack except the anxiety that those who experience panic attacks suffer with regards to the fear that they may suffer another anxiety attack.

However, panic attacks can develop as a result of a person experiencing a traumatic event if the trauma makes their mental state fragile.

Causes Of Anxiety Disorders

Stress

The negligent act of another party can result in a variety of stress-causing factors, such as physical injury and financial insecurity. Anxiety disorders may develop in response to the stress caused by such an event.

Damage To The Amygdala

Injuries from an accident or medical negligence to the area of the brain from which the Amygdala functions to control anxiety and fear can result in the development of a panic disorder if the extent and severity to which a person experiences anxiety and fear is affected.

Exposure To Solvents In The Workplace

There is credible support for the theory that continuous exposure to organic solvents in the workplace, such as through varnishing and painting, is causally associated with the development of anxiety disorders.

Treatment For Anxiety Disorders

Medication

SSRI’s are often used to improve a person’s mood in the hope that this will mean they are less likely to feel the often unrelenting fear and anxiety associated with anxiety disorders.

This is not effective for all people with anxiety disorders but it is a simple and efficient way of treating them in the first instance that often produces positive results.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a useful treatment for anxiety disorders. CBT generally targets those with or at risk of anxiety disorders. It aims to discover how an individual’s thought processes affect their actions and the way their actions affect their thought processes. By targeting thought processes and actions that reinforce them, negativity in their thinking can be reduced while positive thoughts are encouraged. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels in order to control or even move past an anxiety disorder.

Many other types of psychotherapy may be useful as a treatment for anxiety disorders, including interpersonal therapy and social skills training that help with dealing with the disorder in social situations.

Lifestyle Changes

Changes in lifestyle, such as performing aerobic exercise several times a week, sticking to a planned and regular sleeping pattern and reducing the amount of caffeine consumed, have been shown to be helpful routine changes that minimise the effects of an anxiety disorder.

Depression

Reactive depression can often be an extremely incapacitating psychiatric complaint that may lead to a tricky time for a person’s career, family and health.

Many of those diagnosed with depression have it because of another party’s negligence, usually related to the fact that the negligent act in question caused a person to experience a traumatic or difficult event, subsequent to which they may develop depression.

If the depression is not an instant result of the fault of another, it may still be attributed to that fault if the eventual development of the depression can be traced directly back to the negligence and the effects of it.

Symptoms Of Depression

This psychiatric injury impinges on every part of a person’s life, from relationships to health, significantly affecting a person’s efficiency

Depression typically involves a person experiencing a low mood, withdrawal from society, a lack of satisfaction in activities that were previously gratifying, feelings of guilt and regret, as well as worthlessness and self-hatred.

It is common for a person with depression to have poor memory, struggle concentrating and struggle sleeping or struggle not to oversleep. Many people who have from depression suffer symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions, with many of them also having thoughts of suicide and death.

Numerous physical issues are reported by those with depression, such as appetite changes, agitation and lethargy, as well as headaches and fatigue.

Causes Of Depression

Aside from the biological causes of depression that cannot normally be linked to a negligent cause, depression can have social and psychological causes.

Social

The cause of depression frequently links to the harmful impact that the incidence of traumatic or difficult events can have on a person’s relationships and social activities, which may lead to depression.

For example, if a person sustains serious physical injury while working through no fault of their own, they may not be able to preserve their relationships with family and friends to the same extent that they did in the past due to the effect of their injuries. This means that the vital support network provided by family and friends may be absent; they may not be able to enjoy the same activities as they did in the past; and they may feel incapable of a return to employment due to low self-esteem relating to their ability to perform in the role they once held.

Psychological

There is a connection between depression and the occurrence of traumatic or difficult events that can have an effect on a person’s mental state, such as losing a family member or suffering serious injury and being financially insecure, all as a result of the negligence of another party.

A person may be able to battle the difficulties of such trials by changing they way they think, but often these events have such a devastating impact that depression is inevitable, especially if a person’s character traits make them susceptible to it.

Treatment For Depression

Medication

SSRI’s are often used to improve a person’s mood in the hope that this will mean they are less likely to feel the low mood, guilt and worthlessness associated with depression.

This is not effective for all people with depression but it is a simple and efficient way of treating them in the first instance that often produces positive results.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a useful treatment for depression. CBT generally targets those with or at risk of depression. It aims to discover how an individual’s thought processes affect their actions and the way their actions affect their thought processes. By targeting thought processes and actions that reinforce them, negativity in their thinking can be reduced while positive thoughts are encouraged. This can help to improve a person’s mood and eliminate negative thoughts in order to control or even move past depression.

Many other types of psychotherapy may be useful as a treatment for depression, including interpersonal therapy and social skills training that help with dealing with the disorder in social situations.

Lifestyle Changes

Changes in lifestyle, such as performing aerobic exercise several times a week, sticking to a planned and regular sleeping pattern and reducing the amount of caffeine consumed, have been shown to be helpful routine changes that minimise the effects of depression.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD refers to a disorder that may develop if a person experiences a violent and traumatic event, such as serious injury, the danger of death or witnessing the real death of another.

Over half of all people will experience a traumatic even during their lifetime but many suffer a series of them; these people are more likely to develop PTSD.

If the disorder is not an immediate result of the fault of another, it may still be attributed to that fault if the development of the disorder can be traced directly back to the negligence and the effects of it.

Symptoms Of PTSD

The characteristics of PTSD are not present prior to a person experiencing the violent and traumatic event that causes the disorder.

PTSD is generally characterised by invasive, irrepressible and persistent nightmares and flashbacks of a traumatic event. In addition to this there is usually a determined evasion of all conversation and thoughts and emotions related to the traumatic event.

If PTSD symptoms last for longer than one month, a person will be diagnosed with PTSD. It is classified as ‘acute’ if it lasts for less than three months and ‘chronic’ if it lasts longer than three months. PTSD is considered as ‘delayed onset’ PTSD if the disorder emerges after more than six months since the traumatic event occurred.

Causes Of PTSD

PTSD can be triggered by any kind of even that is considered traumatic and violent to the person witnessing or experiencing the event.

During the event, a PTSD sufferer would have experienced death or serious injury to another person, serious injury to themselves or such a great threat to their life or the life of another that they would have felt extreme fear and helplessness.

Typical people that suffer from PTSD include those who have been involved in a violent accident, those that have fought or are fighting in the military, victims of or witnesses to violent crime and those that have been bullied in a violent or threatening manner, consisting of assaults or mentally abusive behaviour.

Treatment

Medication

No medication is prescribed by medical professionals for PTSD as it is not conclusive that any medication can prevent or eliminate the disorder; therefore, medication treatments are given on a case-by-case basis.

However, although not decisively established by medical studies, some have suggested that administering hydrocortisone within a few hours of a traumatic event can reduce the chances of a person suffering from PTSD.

SSRI’s are often used to improve a person’s mood in the hope that this will mean they are less likely to experience the often debilitating feelings associated with PTSD. This is not effective for all people with PTSD but it is a simple and efficient way of treating them in the first instance that often produces positive results.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a useful treatment for PTSD. CBT generally targets those with or at risk of PTSD. It aims to discover how an individual’s thought processes affect their actions and the way their actions affect their thought processes. By targeting thought processes and actions that reinforce them, negativity in their thinking can be reduced while positive thoughts are encouraged. This can help a person to control or even move past PTSD.

Many other types of psychotherapy may be useful as a treatment for PTSD, including interpersonal therapy and social skills training that help with dealing with the disorder in social situations.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This form of therapy is based on scientific evidence that eye movement contributes to memory recall. When eye movement is rapid, the recall of disturbing memories is more likely, so deliberately controlling and slowing eye movement can help reduce the frequency and intensity of the memories.

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