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Mental challenges often follow a spinal cord injury

When people think of spinal cord injuries, they likely conjure up images of the physical problems, like paralysis, that can result from such an injury. To be sure, a spinal cord injury can have severe physical consequences. At the same time, many people who suffer a spinal cord injury must also deal with emotional and mental problems.

An injury to the spinal cord can have a devastating impact on a person's everyday activities. Accordingly, when an accident leads to a spinal cord injury the injured person may experience depression due to the profound change in their physical capabilities.

According to data from the University of Washington, about one of every 20 people in the U.S. suffer from depression each year. When it comes to spinal cord injury victims, however, the numbers are much higher; roughly one in five people with such injuries suffer from depression.

Depression is not just a minor consequence of a spinal cord injury. The depression by itself can have major effects on the person's ability to function and move forward with life. Depression is more than just feeling sad, and it can cause a variety of symptoms including sleep problems, low energy and suicidal thoughts.

Depression is just one example of the life challenges that can arise from a spinal cord injury. People who have this kind of injury may need ongoing psychological care in addition to medical treatment and rehabilitation for any physical problems.

A person has a lot to deal with when they have a spinal cord injury. But if an accident caused by someone else is the cause of that injury, one thing they should not have to shoulder is the burden of medical expenses and other monetary damages related to the injury.

Source: University of Washington School of Medicine, "Depression and Spinal Cord Injury," Accessed on April 19, 2016

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