Impact Of Physical Injuries On Mental Health

Physical injuries can cause several psychological effects. These can impact mental health and slow down the recovery of physical injuries.  Thankfully, if the injury is minor, it may not disrupt your daily life and can be taken care of through self-care or little to no treatment. Minor physical injuries rarely cause mental health problems or trauma.

However, if the bodily injury is paramount, such as a car accident, assault, accidental fall or life-altering mishap, they can give rise to physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional problems. 

How Is Physical Injury And Mental Health Related? 

The best way to study the relationship between physical injury and mental health is through the cases of athletes. According to Sportsmed, when an athlete faces a sports injury, they become overwhelmed with psychological, behavioral and physical problems. 

Depressed businesman talking with psychologist

Athletes experience emotional responses to injury, ranging from feelings of isolation, de-motivation, anger, changes in appetite, disturbances in sleep patterns and much more. Depression becomes a significant warning sign. 

If you are suffering from a chronic illness or a severe injury, you can be more prone to psychological issues. It can cause mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Poor mental health, for one, can negatively influence the recovery rate of the physical injury. 

How Does Mental Health Suffer After An Injury? 

After you suffer from a physical injury, it impacts your mental health due to various reasons. While spending time at the hospital, the pain may contribute to depression. Additionally, you might also experience PTSD from the trauma of the injury.  

Yet, the burden of a physical injury can affect everyday life as well. 

When a physical injury forces you to stop working, it can reduce mobility and lessen socialization with other people. You might feel as if you are losing connections with everyone and disregard your purpose in life. 

A study by BeyondBlue reported that after a traumatic injury, one in three people experience depression. The risk of the mental disorder becomes even higher when you have a traumatic brain injury.  

A life-altering injury can change your life forever and pushes you to the brink of depression. Many suffer from depression if they feel they cannot fully recover, or if their financial situation is affected by the injury. 

Research on psychological distress after a physical injury had participants showing PTSD and peritraumatic dissociation even after a year. 

What Are The Symptoms? 

After a traumatic experience, it may feel normal to experience signs of depression and anxiety. Yet, it would be best if you never ignored such signs, as they can affect your mental health negatively. Here are some of the symptoms you should be aware of: 

  • Feeling anxious or having bouts of anxiety
  • You cannot stop thinking about the injury 
  • Have trouble concentrating 
  • Overthinking or worrying a lot 
  • Crying excessively 
  • Feeling anger or frustration 
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns 

A Physical Injury Can Also Result In Physical Symptoms Such As: 

  • Headaches 
  • Feeling fatigued 
  • Being easily startled 
  • A racing heartbeat 


As the physical injury is visible from the outside, it is evident that it needs more attention. Nonetheless, it does not mean that mental health should not be a priority during the recovery process. 

If you happen to feel the symptoms mentioned above, it is best to talk to your doctor and find a treatment that works for you. Some of the treatment options include: 

  • Psychotherapy with a professional counselor 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy that helps you learn to redirect your thoughts)
  • Medications for emotional and psychological problems
  • Meditation 
  • Joining a support group where people share their journey of self-recovery 
  • By following these routines, you can also take care of your mental health:  
  • Staying away from alcohol and drugs  
  • Spending time with your loved ones 
  • Incorporating a scheduled plan for your eating, sleeping and exercising habits 
  • Involving yourself with activities you enjoy 

Final Thoughts

Sadly, there is still a label or stigma around mental health disorders, and thus, people seldom come forward. Remember that healing takes time, and asking for help is a crucial step towards recovery.

If you are struggling with mental distress due to a physical injury, you must contact your doctor immediately.