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What You Should (But Don't) Know About Mental Injury vs. Mental Illness

You’ve never been the same after your car accident. To this day, you’re scared to drive when it’s raining too hard out and will avoid it if you can. You haven’t gotten a diagnosis yet but you’re pretty sure you have some form of PTSD.

Would PTSD count as a mental illness or a mental injury? If you’re planning to try to get the help you need to overcome your problem, that’s something that you should know beforehand.

Mental illnesses and injuries have a lot in common as far as symptoms go but they aren’t one and the same. Check out this guide to learn more.

What is Mental Injury? 

Many are under the misconception that conditions such as PTSD are a mental illness. In truth, PTSD falls more under mental injury than anything else. 

It's a condition caused by a traumatic event of some sort. You can actually seek out a personal injury lawyer to get compensation depending on the event that's caused your problem. Even if you don't have a physical injury of any kind you may still have a claim. 

What is personal injury law you may ask? It's a branch of law that handles injuries that occurred due to the negligence of another person. You'll need to research and learn more about the subject if you want to pursue a claim. 

Common Causes of Mental Injury 

There are many things that can cause mental injury but the most common events include car accidents, acts of violence, and criminal activity. Being a victim of any of these events can cause life-changing effects. It's not a broken limb but you may still need medical treatment to help you cope. 

The most common condition that one develops after one of these events is anxiety. If you get into a car accident due to the carelessness of another driver, you may feel anxious to get back on the road again, for example. 

What's Mental Illness?

Now that you know what mental injuries are, let's delve more into mental illness. Mental illness is classified into mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. They have horrible effects on a person's behavior and mood and can be debilitating.

For someone to be diagnosed with a mental illness, their symptoms must persist for a few weeks or more. At this point, if it's still hard for you to go to work or school, it might be time to seek out medical help

Common Causes of Mental Illness 

Mental illness can be caused by a multitude of things but the most common are environmental factors, genetics, and brain chemistry. Let's break this down a little further. 

If one or more of your blood relatives has depression you become more likely to develop it yourself. Certain situations can increase your risk which brings us into environmental factors. Events that occur while you're still in the womb such as toxins, alcohol, and other stressors can result in mental illness. 

Basic brain chemistry is another common cause. If something happens to the neurotransmitters that are responsible for carrying signals throughout the body certain changes may occur. One of these changes is depression and other mental illnesses. 

How They Differ 

As you can see, the main difference between mental injury and mental illnesses is that mental injury is triggered by witnessing or becoming a victim of some sort of traumatic event. Mental illness occurs from genetics and problems with brain chemistry. 

Even though both can result in some of the same conditions such as depression and anxiety, the diagnosis is different and should be treated as such. Most therapies that help with mental injuries involve tackling the traumatic event so you can come up with healthy coping mechanisms and take medication to try and get past it. 

Mental illness is tackled by a trained therapist. They will talk with you about your feelings and prescribe medication if they feel like it's necessary. 

Getting Compensation 

Perhaps the biggest way these two conditions differ is that you can get legal compensation for mental injuries. If you had a mental condition that was worsened by an event in your life, you may be able to talk with a personal injury lawyer. 

How much compensation you get all depends on how severe your condition is. If it has had such an impact on you that you can no longer go to work or be an active participant in your daily life, you may be able to get the funds needed to pay for your medical bills and lost wages. 

How They Are the Same 

When it comes to injuries and mental health, diagnosis gets a bit tricky. Even though both conditions have to be treated differently, they share a lot of the same symptoms. Both involve extreme bouts of anxiety, irregular sleeping patterns, depression, mood swings, changes in behavior, stomach pain, and headaches. 

If you start experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor right away. They'll be able to come up with the right treatment method for your condition. 

Diagnosing Mental Injury Vs Mental Illness 

While mental injury and mental illness share a lot of the same symptoms, they work a little differently and must be treated as such. Being able to tell the two apart is your first step toward getting the help that you need so you can go back to your daily life. 

If you think you may have a claim for your condition, go to our legal services directory to find a personal injury lawyer in your area to take on your case.  


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