Most people experience some degree of psychological distress after a burn injury, some more so than others. Burn victims may have symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and body image concerns – all of which can make it difficult to transition back into normal life.
Fortunately, there are numerous therapies, both medical and non-medical, that target some of these psychological and emotional issues burn victims face and help them regain a sense of well-being.
What types of medical therapies combat post-burn psychological issues?
When the emotional, psychosocial, and psychological issues a victim faces are acute or considerable, medical therapies may be necessary, which can include both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.
Psychotherapeutic activities, facilitated by professionals and clinicians such as social workers, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and other burn care specialists, can effectively help a burn victim with the difficult psychological and mental aspects of returning to home, social, and work life.
Rather than pretending that the emotional and mental issues do not exist or that the burn injury survivor will not run into psychological issues along the way, a therapist should “categorize such events as normal and ‘usual,’ and proceed without condescending or judging, to offer suggestions for developing a repertoire of alternative behaviors to address those problems,” explains the International Society for Burn Injuries.
Some of the conventional treatment approaches that many burn survivors find helpful during their recovery include:
- Counseling with a psychologist or psychiatrist that has experience treating your psychological conditions, e.g. PTSD, social anxiety, etc.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Learning coping strategies, communication skills, and social skills from mental health and behavioral professionals, e.g., how to respond when people stare or are rude
- Pharmacological approaches, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, and aides for sleep issues
What types of non-medical therapies may help?
Many burn victims respond well to a variety of self-treatment approaches, including non-medical and alternative therapies. Below are a few of the ways you can manage your psychological symptoms, feel better, and improve your outlook during your rehabilitation.
- Reach out to other burn survivors for support.
- Try alternative relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation.
- Make nutrition a priority. Eat at a balanced, healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Include mind-body approaches such as tai chi and yoga for burn survivors in your weekly routine.
- Listen to relaxing, motivational, and inspirational music and videos. YouTube has a great selection of meditation, inspirational, nature sounds, and soothing music videos.
- Make getting adequate sleep a priority.
Will I need ongoing psychological care?
Each case and each person is different. Be patient with the progression of your care. It may take some time to fully recover.
“Take one step at a time during the recovery process. Acceptance of your injury and the changes in your life takes time, and recovery (psychological and physical) can proceed at a slow pace,” explains the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC).
If you or your loved one are a burn survivor, the ongoing medical and psychological care you may need can be costly. You may also have to miss several months of work, so finances could be challenging.
You could be entitled to compensation if your burn injury was the result of someone else’s negligence. Our lawyer referral specialists can help you find a lawyer who can answer your legal questions and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 844-549-8774.