In the past few decades, advances in burn care treatment have dramatically increased the chance that a person will survive and even thrive after a burn injury. But even with these tremendous strides, the emotional impact of a burn injury can last for months and even years after your body has healed.
Fortunately, the Temple Burn Center and other advanced burn programs across the country are focused on treating every aspect of burn injury, including emotional well-being.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After Burn Injury
We often associate post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, with soldiers who’ve engaged in war or victims of violent crimes. But PTSD can also result from the shock and stress of an injury, such as a burn from exposure to a chemical, electricity or fire.
While it’s normal to experience depression, anxiety or withdrawal after a traumatic event, these feelings usually go away after a short period of time. It’s when you continue to experience a fight-flight-freeze response that may signal a problem.
Symptoms of PTSD After Burn Injury
Emotional symptoms can occur long after your burn injury has healed. So long, in fact, that you may not realize these symptoms are related to your traumatic experience. Symptoms of PTSD can surface 3 months to 1 year after the event. Thankfully, there is help.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any or all of the following:
- Re-experiencing, including flashbacks, bad dreams or scary thoughts
- Avoidance of places, events or feelings you associate with the injury
- Arousal, feeling on edge all the time or easily startled
- Thinking problems or moodiness, including negativity or distorted thinking
If you’ve had all of these symptoms within the past month, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of your burn injury.