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Physical Disability Leads To Depression

Physical disability indicates any physical limitations or frailties that interfere with a person’s physical function. It affects commonly one or both limbs that can be temporary or permanent. There are several causes of disabilities including accidents, birth defects, heredity, and illness after a certain surgery. The loss of physical capacity results in the person having an inability to move, walk, use their hands, or arms, or inability to sit or stand which mostly leads to depression.

What is Depression?

Depression is a significant mental health disorder that involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. This includes other symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, pain with no specific cause, digestive problems, and suicidal thoughts. Sleep problems are common as well. Many individuals battling this condition struggle with insomnia, while others sleep excessively.

How Physical Disability Leads to Depression?

One day you’re working, and then you’re not. As an adult, developing a physical disability can be challenging whether it’s due to an injury or chronic illness. You find yourself unable to work or enjoy the activities you love. It may be temporary in some cases, but it may also be permanent in others. Either way, physical disability can generate negative feelings and, for many individuals, depression.

Physical disability definitely raises depression risk and can also make the disability worse. It can make it more difficult for you to take proper care of your health. You are more likely to miss important appointments, such as a doctor’s visit or physical therapy. You may neglect to take your medications as directed. The result is a cycle in which the injury or illness triggers despair, making the disabling condition worse.

Recently Incapacitated

For a recently disabled individual, mental health struggle is very common as they have gone from being able-bodied to someone who has to depend on assistance. It causes struggles with their memories of being able-bodied and trying to accept their current physical or mental limitations.

Incapacitated at Birth

Some individuals are disabled at birth which was a result of issues during gestation or childbirth, or a genetic problem as the cause of their disability. Some may develop coping mechanisms from an early age, while others do not share the same view. Those who are disabled at an early age may spend years struggling to find acceptance with their peers and teachers and have struggles in transitioning to adulthood. 

NOTE: It is okay not to feel at your best. Everyone reacts differently to life situations. Ensure that you have a support system during your trying times. It is also essential to seek professional help if you experience persistent symptoms of sadness or hopelessness.

Improving the Mental Health of People With Disabilities

  1. Give yourself time to mourn. Before you can accept your physical disability, you first need to grieve. Do not ignore or suppress your feelings because you cannot work through grief without allowing yourself to feel it and actively deal with it. Allow yourself to fully experience your feelings without judgment.
  2. Come to terms with your new reality. It is healthy to grieve the life you have lost, but avoid to continue looking back and wishing for a return to a normal state. Gradually let go of the past and accept your phase as you can be happy with a broken body.
  3. Find ways to minimize its impact on your life. You can be an advocate as you deal with the challenges of life with a physical disability. Educate yourself about your rights and the resources available to you. Let go of any embarrassment or fear of stigma. You are not defined by the aids you use.
  4. Join a support group. It is one of the best steps to deal with loneliness and isolation. Participate in a support group for people dealing with similar challenges. Support groups are a great place to share struggles, solutions, and encouragement to accept your physical disability.
  5. Take your medication. Most doctors often prescribe medication such as Escitalopram to aid during the treatment period. It is an SNRI that inhibits the uptake of both these amines but does not interact with cholinergic, adrenergic, or histaminergic receptors or have sedative properties.

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