Burn injuries can cause persistent psychological distress that can affect job performance and quality of life. These hidden injuries require long-term counseling and treatment that can last throughout an individual’s lifetime. In Nevada, burn injury victims and their Las Vegas personal injury attorney can seek compensation for mental health treatments and the impact psychological trauma has on an individual’s quality of life and lifetime earning capacity.
It is estimated that there are approximately 486,000 burn injuries in the United States each year that require medical treatment. Of these, roughly 40,000 require hospitalization. Of burn injury survivors who are treated in a hospital or specialized burn center, approximately 97% survive their physical injuries; however, many leave the facility with hidden injuries that require long-term psychotherapy to heal.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
90% of severe burn injury victims experience significant psychological distress in the days and weeks following their injury whether it’s from an open fire, contact with scalding liquid, or explosion of an e-cigarette. The more severe the burn, the greater the likelihood that the individual will develop PTSD. Approximately 45% of burn injury survivors will continue to experience signs of PTSD one year after the injury event. One year after discharge from a medical treatment facility, this rate drops to 30% at which point the individual is considered to be experiencing chronic psychological distress.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can appear at any time following a burn injury. It may manifest itself in many ways including difficulty sleeping, becoming easily startled, avoidance of family and friends, and having flashbacks of the circumstances that caused the injury. Individuals may also develop substance abuse problems and have difficulty with concentration and memory. These symptoms may be ever present or they may recede and become dormant until they are triggered by something that reminds the individual of the injury such as the sight of an open flame, steam escaping from a pipe, etc.
Treatment of PTSD requires a combination of therapies that include long-term psychotherapy, medication, and support. Successful treatment depends on training individuals to perform job-related tasks with their injuries and helping individuals recognize triggers and develop methods to cope when they occur. It also requires treating any alcohol or substance abuse problems that may delay recovery. This process can take years. A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help forecast the long-term care cost associated with burn injuries and pursue compensation to cover these expenses.