Workers injured on the job often take months or longer off work while they heal. Others who suffer life-altering injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, or occupational diseases may never be well enough to work at their former position or any other job. These victims of workplace accidents must also cope with difficulties paying their bills and basic living expenses, limitations in their day-to-day activities, and chronic pain. Unfortunately, this can lead them to become depressed—a serious mental health disorder that can last even longer than their original injuries. While they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to pay for their treatment and lost wages, they often must fight with the insurance company to obtain the benefits they deserve.
Twelve Signs You May Be Suffering From Depression Caused by a Workplace Injury
Depression is a mood disorder that causes people to experience persistent feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in their lives. It can affect how they think, feel, and act, and can result in additional physical and emotional problems. Workers who suffer with this after being injured on the job can’t just “snap out” of it. Signs that a person is suffering with this disorder include:
- Feeling sad, fearful, hopeless, or empty
- Becoming angry, agitated, or frustrated—even over minor matters
- Losing interest in activities the person once enjoyed like family relationships, sports, and hobbies
- Having problems sleeping, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
- Feeling tired and lacking energy so that completing even small tasks is overwhelming
- Having changes in appetite—either losing interest in food or overeating
- Becoming anxious or restless
- Finding body movements, thought process, or speech is slower than normal
- Experiencing feelings of worthlessness or guilt—sometimes over situations that happened long ago or that were not the person’s fault
- Having problems thinking, concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions
- Having frequent thoughts of death or committing suicide
- Experiencing unexplained medical problems like chronic headaches or back pain
Treatments That Could Be Covered Under Workers’ Comp
Unfortunately, depression can be a life-long problem, and an injured worker can suffer multiple episodes of it. Depression is usually treated with one or a combination of the following:
- Medications. People are often prescribed antidepressants to reduce their symptoms of depression. Sometimes a person needs to try several different medications or a combination of them to find the one that is right for him. These drugs can cause major side effects, and a person can experience withdrawal symptoms if he suddenly stops taking the drugs.
- Psychotherapy. People can find it helpful to talk about the medical condition that caused them to become depressed and other issues with a mental health professional. A therapist can help a person adjust to his difficulty, develop coping mechanisms, identify issues that contribute to his depression, and regain a sense of satisfaction and control over his life.
- Hospitalization. If a person’s depression is severe enough or he is suicidal, he may need to be hospitalized to get his most severe symptoms under control and to keep him safe.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In this procedure, which is performed under anesthesia, electric currents are passed through the brain to impact the neurotransmitters—brain chemicals that communicate information throughout the brain and body. This treatment can provide immediate relief from the symptoms of depression and is used when antidepressants are not effective or the person is suicidal.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This is another option for accident victims who do not respond to antidepressants. A treatment coil is placed on the person’s scalp that sends magnetic impulses to nerve cells in the brain which control moods and depression. This treatment is often done five days a week for approximately six weeks.
Let an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fight for the Benefits You Need to Get Well
If you have become depressed after a workplace injury, you need to obtain treatment to manage your symptoms so they do not become debilitating. Don’t let the stress of fighting for workers’ compensation benefits make your condition worse. Let an experienced workers’ compensation attorney fight this battle for you. I have been helping workers like you for over 20 years. Start an online chat or call me at 877-360-0183 to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can assist you.