The Importance of Mental Health Care After an Offshore Injury
When you think of sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the first thing that generally comes to mind is military veterans. Although military personnel often develop mental health issues as a result of injuries and combat, they’re not the only ones. Any type of traumatic event, especially one that results in catastrophic injuries, can have an extreme impact on a person’s psychological health.
Unfortunately, these mental effects hold true for injured maritime workers as well.
Maritime Accidents and Psychological Trauma
When confronted with a serious maritime accident injury, the most important thing to take care of is your health. No matter the injury, you must seek appropriate medical treatment. Depending on the severity of the injury, this treatment may require admittance to the hospital for days, weeks, or even months. During this time, the immediate focus will be on healing your physical wounds. While the doctors and nurses treat your external trauma, you’re left to relive the accident over-and-over in your mind. While your body heals, your thoughts tear at your mind as you begin to fully digest what has happened and what will happen to you.
- Could I have avoided this if only I….?
- How long will I be here? I can’t look at these walls any longer.
- Will I be scarred for life?
- How am I going to pay for treatment?
- Will I ever work again? How will I support my family?
- What am I going to do?
These are only a few of the thoughts that may continuously run through your head, making it difficult to cope with reality. Unfortunately, these thoughts are only the beginning.
Being the victim of a traumatic accident out on the water can impact you for years to come. Processing the injury and the effects that injury will have on your future can lead to:
- Claustrophobia or feelings of being trapped inside one’s self
- Lack of motivation
- Anger and frustration
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
- Social withdrawal
- Fear of returning to work
- Hydrophobia—fear of the water or going back on the water (common in near-drowning accidents)
There are three options for coping with accident-related mental trauma: Dealing with it on your own, relying on friends and family to help get you through, and seeking professional help.
- Option one: Dealing with it on your own. Some injured maritime workers think that they can work through their issues on their own. However, psychological trauma isn’t something that a strong will can “fix.” It’s a vicious circle—the problem is in your mind, your mind is the tool that has to fix it, but your mind is damaged. Many people find that coping on their own simply doesn’t work very well in dealing with negative thoughts, stress, or anxiety.
- Option two: Relying on friends and family. Although it’s important for friends and family to support you, since they have probably never been in your situation before they can’t truly relate. Therefore, they do not possess the necessary tools to help you cope and heal emotionally.
- Option three: Finding professional help. Speaking with a psychological-trauma professional gives you your best chance at a full recovery. A professional psychologist has the resources and training you need to heal your mind. He can relate to how your physical trauma has affected your mental health, as well as help you come to terms with the physical outcomes. Furthermore, he can help you cope with your feelings, learn how to control your anxiety, or even help calm terrifying recurring flashbacks of the accident.
Protecting Your Mind With the Help of an Attorney
An accident victim’s focus should be 100% focused on healing and recovering from his ordeal. He shouldn’t have to worry about how he’ll afford treatment or how he’ll support his family—that’s our job. At the law offices of Steve Lee, we place all of our focus, skills, and knowledge into helping maritime accident victims obtain the compensation they need to pay medical expenses, afford therapy, and offset lost wages. Contact us today at 713-921-4171 or by filling out the contact form on this page for a FREE consultation.
If your friend or loved one was recently injured at sea and you’re concerned about his mental state, please feel free to share this article. It may be hard for you to bring up such a sensitive topic, but hopefully reading this information will help them take the next steps toward a healthy mental state.