Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Mental and Emotional Recovery Post-Injury

Coping: Coping with traumatic injury is a long-term process, in which the survivor and their loved ones learn to function, and ideally accept their new circumstances. It is a subjective and often frustrating experience, in which each individual must sometimes implement strategies which do not work for them, in order to determine those that do. The nature of the traumatic injury further plays a predictive role in the individual’s coping process and road to recovery. Ultimately, coping styles are developed based on the individual’s character and life circumstances, to achieve optimal functioning and well-being.

Grief: Traumatic injury may suddenly leave loved ones bereaved of spouses, children, parents, close friends, and coworkers. In the immediate aftermath, some may be numb or unable to accept the loss. Many feel shocked, lost, anxious, depressed, and physically unwell as a result of this loss. For many, the pain can be intense and unrelenting. In the acute aftermath of the violent death of a loved one, a sense of disbelief or intense, uncontrollable emotionality is very frequent.

Anxiety: Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, making them the most common form of mental illness in the U.S. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder. Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives.

Depression: A depressive disorder is an illness affecting the body, mood, and thoughts. It can deteriorate a person’s eating and sleeping patterns, self-image, and perception. A depressive disorder is different than a transient sad mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness nor is it a condition that can be overcome through will alone. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without proper treatment, symptoms can endure for weeks, months, or years. However, help is available for all people who suffer from depression.

Mental Health Care: Coping with traumatic injury is largely dictated by the extent to which individuals receive the proper help and support. Various therapies and treatments are available to aid survivors in dealing with new emotions, such as anger, sadness, and grief. If these feelings become unmanageable, therapists, psychiatrists, and counselors are excellent resources to utilize, who will implement appropriate types of treatment to improve overall quality of life.

Associated pages

Self-Management: Nextsteps
Glossary of Terms