Physiological Disorders Caused By Trauma Seeking Justice for the Intangible Dangers of Catastrophic Accidents

Trauma-Induced Physiological Disorders

Many people may not realize that injury accidents can result in much more than just physical impairment. Also of great importance are the adverse physiological effects that a catastrophic injury can have on the victim of the accident. Mental and emotional distress to the greatest degree can sometimes be more debilitating and life-altering than even the most severe physical injury. Therefore, if you or someone you love has been physiologically traumatized in an injury accident of any sort, then you should not wait to contact our firm as soon as possible. At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we pride ourselves on providing nothing but the best legal representation to those who need it most.

We pursue justice for victims who are suffering from any of the following physiological disorders:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - More commonly referred to as PTSD, some victims of this anxiety disorder are subjected to bouts of reliving the event which traumatized them. This could result in avoidance and high arousal.
  • Depressive Disorders - Even a single instance of trauma can result in major depression for the victim who suffers it.
  • Dissociative Disorders - It is not unusual for a trauma victim to dissociate from the event in some way or another. This could be through disruptions in memory, periods of detachment, alterations of personality, and impaired recall.
  • Personality Disorders - After being traumatized, some people unconsciously cope with the event by acting out emotionally in thoughts and behaviors that are not socially acceptable. These include antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder.
  • Psychosis - Some traumatic events may result in the victim losing contact with reality.

Depressive Disorders: Dysthymia, Psychotic Depression, Bipolar Disorder & More

Depression is a clinical disorder that negatively impacts a person's thoughts, behaviors, and can even harm their physical wellbeing. Those who are depressed or are struggling with depression may find that they no longer enjoy the activities they once enjoyed. There are certain medications available to those who struggle with depression. Depression is itself not a personality disorder, but a side effect of a personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. Depression can be a side effect of physical pain as well. Chronic pain or severe acute pain can leave a person struggling with low mood. Mania is a broad disease that can be further classified into conditions such as hypomania or dysphoric mania.

Overall, it is a clinical condition in which a person's normal mood is significantly changed to an irritable mood or one that is quickly aggravated. Mania is commonly connected with bipolar disorder, which is also called "manic depressive disorder." People suffering from this condition will experience dramatic shifts in mood, almost making it appear as if the individual has two completely different personas.

Depressive disorders are serious conditions that usually require medical treatment for a sufferer's condition to improve. While some depressive disorders can be treated with therapy, individuals suffering from more serious conditions will likely need to take prescription medication to treat their symptoms. Treatments take time; even with appropriate medical care, individuals may take months or years to show signs of improvement.

Some of the most common types of depressive disorders include:

  • Major Depression
    Manifested by many symptoms, all of which combine to interfere with a person's ability to work, study, sleep, eat, or enjoy activities that once gave him or her pleasure. It may prove to be a one-time occurrence in a person's life or may continue to occur repeatedly.
  • Dysthymic Disorder (Dysthymia)
    Mild depressive symptoms that last more than two years. These symptoms do not disable but do impede normal function and feelings.
  • Psychotic Depression
    Severe depressive illness accompanied by psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and or delusions.
  • Postpartum Depression
    A depressive condition which a new mother develops within one month of delivering a child.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
    The onset of a depressive illness during winter months, when less natural light is present.
  • Bipolar Disorder
    Characterized by cycling mood changes that range from severe highs to extreme lows.

Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders interrupt or cause the breakdown of memory, awareness, identity, and perception. Dissociation describes a wide variety of behaviors that allows a person to become detached from his or her physical or emotional reality. When a person has a dissociative disorder, his or her use of dissociation is both pathological and involuntary. These are primarily thought to be caused by psychological trauma. Treatments usually involve therapy as well as a combination of psychosocial and pharmacological treatments. There are no known cures for dissociative disorders, but long-term therapy treatments can be quite successful at managing symptoms.

There are five different types of dissociative disorders:

  • Depersonalization Disorder
    A person experiences periods of detachment, while still understanding that the detachment is just a feeling and not reality.
  • Dissociative Amnesia
    Amnesia caused by an emotional trauma.
  • Dissociative Fugue
    The individual physically abandons familiar surroundings and has difficulties recalling the past. This condition sometimes leads to confusion about one's identity, occasionally resulting in the adoption of a new one.
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
    A person alternates between two or more distinct personalities and is unable to recall important information between personalities.

Personality Disorders: Psychological Illness Caused by Trauma

A traumatic event can cause physical scars, but it can also cause psychological ones. Personality disorders are a real side effect of certain accidents, leaving many with an emotional condition that is difficult to cope with. For example, a traumatic brain injury can result in serious behavioral problems and drastic changes to a person's personality. This goes beyond the extent of post-traumatic stress disorder, but can also include it. Emotional instability, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other anxiety disorders can all result from traumatic events in a person's life. A key cause of many psychological disorders in the U.S. is trauma. So much so, that this has even warranted its classification of mental illness, called the trauma model of mental disorders. Many of these personality disorders can even be caused as early on in a person's life as childbirth. Traumatic childbirth can leave an individual with the trauma they must deal with for the rest of their life.


Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality. People with psychosis typically develop delusions and hallucinations when in a psychotic state.

Many different causes may trigger psychosis, including:

  • Certain psychiatric disorders
  • Drugs or alcohol
  • Brain tumors
  • Dementia
  • Infections that affect the brain
  • Certain prescription medications

Symptoms that may indicate a person has psychosis include:

  • Disorganized thoughts and speech
  • Particularly unfounded fears and paranoia
  • False beliefs
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren't there

Before determining the appropriate treatment, caregivers must understand what is causing the psychotic episode. Psychiatric evaluations, blood tests, drug screenings, or even MRIs may help determine the cause of psychotic behaviors. Once the cause has been discovered, a treatment plan can be developed. Most psychotic patients will need to be hospitalized to prevent harm to themselves and others. Antipsychotic drugs help manage the symptoms of psychosis, regardless of the underlying cause. If the cause of the psychosis is reversible, patients stand a good chance at recovery. If, however, the cause of the psychosis is a condition like schizophrenia, lifelong care or treatment may be required.

Compensation for Noneconomic Damages

The term "noneconomic damages" refers to intangible harms inflicted upon a person. Pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by someone else's negligence can all be reasons for which a victim can be compensated. There are, however, caps on how much compensation can be awarded for noneconomic damages. A personality disorder may be able to be considered a physical disorder, which could warrant greater compensation than noneconomic damages would. To find out specifics regarding your case, it would be best to speak with an attorney. A personality disorder can significantly alter the course of life. Don't let a negligent party get away with their actions.

Helping Victims of Catastrophic Accidents Move Forward

No matter what type of injury you are currently suffering from, if it has dramatically altered your lifestyle in any way, then you owe it to yourself to seek legal help. Mental disorders should not be discounted in the adverse effects that deserve to be addressed by an attorney. Sometimes, the physiological results of an accident are more debilitating and more life-changing than any physical injury could be. Therefore, these are injuries that deserve to be addressed with the legal skill and know-how that would be applied to any other type of physical injury that was incurred from an accident.

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