Since the passing of Robin Williams, depression awareness has been on the rise. Depression is something many of us have heard of and some have even experienced. Depression, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, unimportant, and often is unable to live in a normal way. According to a study conducted by Johnathan Silver, MD “20-60% of people with a serious injury experience depression soon after the injury or even years later”.
Depression can result from the chemical changes within the brain or as a symptom of post-traumatic stress. This can be detrimental to the rehabilitation process following an injury. Depression, if allowed, can diminish energy and confidence levels of individuals who are adjusting to their new life after a serious injury. But don’t worry, there are ways to combat depression. Helpful tips for battling depression are to set a daily schedule, stay involved in activities you participated in previously or engage in new activities to highlight new abilities. A strong relationship with family and friends is important to mental and physical health as well.
Treatment is usually very successful when symptoms are caught early. Common signs of depression after an injury are feelings of guilt or loss, loss of concentration, decreased energy, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, diminished desire to participate in social or recreational activities, and thoughts of suicide (Depression, 2014).
Severe injury, illness, and disability can affect us in a variety of ways – emotionally, cognitively, and socially. Friends and family members can be directly affected by their loved one’s depression. Neuropsychology Services at RIKC serves individuals of all ages in helping with the adjustment to disability. Counseling is available in an individual or group setting for patients and family members.
Depression. (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.brainline.org/landing_pages/categories/depression.html