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Depression and spinal cord injuries

A spinal cord injury can have a devastating effect on a person's life. Many people find their mobility drastically limited by paralysis and endure a host of physical problems.

It's not uncommon for people who have suffered a spinal cord injury or other disabling condition to become depressed. They have lost their independence. They may not feel as useful as they once were. They may have body image issues. They may also be in constant physical pain.

In fact, research has found that roughly 20 to 30 percent of people living with a long-term disabilities suffer from depression. That's two to three times greater than the rate of depression for non-disabled people.

A spinal cord injury can also cause relationship issues, substance abuse, alcoholism, financial hardship and job loss -- all things that can worsen a person's depression and lead to thoughts of suicide. The risk of suicide is highest during the first five years after a spinal cord injury.

When spinal cord injury victims are suffering from depression, it's essential that they get psychological treatment and possibly medication as soon as possible. This can minimize the risk of suicide and help people learn to deal with their new reality in as healthy a manner as possible.

That's why it's important to factor in the cost of psychological care when seeking compensation from any at-fault parties involved in the injury. An experienced Chicago personal injury attorney can work to seek the compensation needed to help spinal cord injury victims and their families get the money they need for long-term care, rehabilitation, lost wages and medical care -- not just for their physical issues, but for the emotional ones that come with devastating injuries.

Source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, "Depression," accessed Sep. 17, 2015

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