Despite personal protective equipment and safety training, workplace injuries remain a common occurrence in the U.S. In fact, in 2019 alone, private employers reported 2.8 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses.
Even if you do not work in a hazardous industry, an on-the-job injury may make it impossible to perform your job duties. Regrettably, the psychological trauma you face after your injury may be as bad or worse than the injury itself.
Common emotional responses to work-related injuries
It is common to have an emotional response to a serious injury. In the days, weeks and months after your injury, you may experience any of the following:
- Lack of motivation
- Changes in sleep patterns or appetite
Injury-associated emotional responses often decrease in severity over time. Still, if your symptoms do not go away, it may be necessary to seek specialist care. Behavioral therapists, for example, may help you minimize the unwanted psychological effects that often accompany a serious injury at work.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
While any injury has the potential to be stressful, your work-related injury may cause you to develop PTSD. PTSD is a serious psychiatric disorder that stems from a stressful event. With PTSD, you may have any of these symptoms:
- Recurring memories that cause you distress
- Nightmares or flashbacks about your injury
- Thoughts of hopelessness or extreme fear
- Difficulty remembering events before or after your injury
It is ultimately up to a psychologist or another mental health professional to diagnose PTSD. Nevertheless, because PTSD may interfere with your ability to work, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to help you cope with the psychological trauma of your work-related injury.