Many people who have suffered a workplace injury face the prospect of being out for work for an extended period of time. This time could lead to a long period of other challenges including loss of income, inability to pay bills, prolonged periods of pain, anxiety, and the inability to pay bills. One of the big problems that isn’t always discussed is the onslaught of feeling depressed.
If you work with injured workers or have been injured on the job yourself, you should be aware that feelings of depression is very common for those who are recovering from workplace injuries. According to studies, more than half of injured workers experience symptoms of depressions following a work-related injury. Workers who are unable to work following an injury are even more likely to have symptoms of depression.
Common Signs of Depression
Signs and symptoms of depression include: (according to www.nimh.nih.gov)
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
Statistics on Depression for Injured Workers
According to recent studies, workers who experience work related injuries are more likely to suffer from depression. Researchers recently examined patients in rehabilitation who have been out of work for four months or more and found some troubling results:
- While 16 percent of the general population experience mental disorders, 64 percent of patients surveyed were experiencing a serious psychological issue or had experienced one in the last month.
- Around 56 percent of patients who did not suffer from chronic pain reported suffering from psychological diagnosis.
- When researchers included patients suffering from “pain disorders” in their mental health analysis, the post-accident rate psychological conditions increased from 56 percent to 99 percent.
Depression affects each person in different ways, so symptoms caused by depression vary from person to person. Traits, such as age, gender and cultural background all play a role in how depression affects an individual.
Research has clearly shown that returning to work after a work injury is good for both physical and mental health. People who return to work are likely to feel better mentally, and people who feel better mentally are more likely to be working.