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Protecting Accident Victims Throughout Western Pennsylvania.

The psychological effects of facial disfigurement

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2019 | Personal Injury

Accidents can happen to even the most cautious people, so even the most prepared Pennsylvanians ought to be aware of the full extent of catastrophic injuries. Most victims, doctors and legal teams only focus on the physical effects of injuries as they can cause debilitating pain and suffering. However, researchers have been studying the psychological ramifications of disfigurement from catastrophic injuries, especially the effect that facial disfigurement has on the self-esteem and mental health of a victim.

A 2018 report in the Craniomaxillofacial Trauma and Reconstruction Journal describes many of the regular mental issues suffered by people who have experienced facial traumas. People with facial disfigurement tend to withdraw from society, experience depressive episodes and become easily frustrated. Many victims are eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general anxiety disorder. Researchers recommend that those who have suffered facial disfigurement and notice a change in mood should schedule an appointment with a physician or psychologist.

There are options available for victims with extreme facial disfigurement, such as face transplants. However, this procedure can bring further psychological trouble. The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics published a study in 2018 describing the issues which face transplant recipients may encounter, such as confusion and inability to relate to the new way they look. Psychologically, some patients struggle with the concept of a new identity. Add to this the mental stress of decreased immunity and higher rate of infections, and some patients report feeling psychologically worse.

With more research, scientists can come closer to understanding the connection between physical and psychological pain. Victims of negative mental health episodes in the aftermath of a catastrophic injury can hope to receive more comprehensive medical care in the future.