Depression is the leading cause of disability both worldwide and in the United States, especially among those between 15 and 44. It affects more than 16 million Americans – nearly 7 percent of the population – hitting women much more frequently than men.
While depression alone is not sufficient to be a compensable work injury claim it is not uncommon for it to manifest itself as part of the bodily injury claim that is filed by the injured worker. For men the inability to work and provide for your family weighs heavily on your mind. You couple this with the pain of an injury and things can feel like they are spiraling out of control. Most people today are not able to save enough to have a 3 or 4 month cushion to cover bills if they get injured and the insurance company has filed a notice of contest in the claim. They may be paying for your medical treatment, but they can still contest the claim and not pay your lost wages while they are “investigating”.
For women that are accustomed to being Wonder Woman, working and taking care of the family, it can be devastating to be unable to interact with their children the way that they have done in the past while they are hurt. If they are married the traditional roles may be reversed putting strain on the marriage. The insurance carriers often are not willing to pay for counseling early on in the claim when it might be most helpful because they will claim that they need for this type of treatment is not solely due to the injury.
If you’ve been in an accident at work that’s left you seriously injured, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you.
Signs of Depression
For a positive diagnosis, a patient must exhibit symptoms for at least two weeks. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism.
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities.
- Decreased energy or fatigue.
- Moving or talking more slowly.
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping.
- Appetite and/or weight changes.
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.
Types of Depression
While most people assume depression is a single, all-encompassing illness, there are actually several different types of depression, as detailed by the NIMH. A few of these different disorders include:
- Persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia, is characterized as a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. This can include major depressive events separated by less severe episodes.
- Perinatal depression is much more serious than the post-partum depression many women suffer after childbirth. Women suffering perinatal depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery.
- Psychotic depression is diagnosed when someone suffers severe depression in addition to psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations.
- Seasonal affective disorder is the onset of a depressive episode during the winter, influenced by less natural sunlight than the rest of the year.
In our experience both men and women frequently suffer from some level of depression if they have had a work related injury that lasts more than 6 weeks. Often this goes untreated because they are frequently seeing doctors that the employer or insurance company chose to be the designated provider. Those physicians may not make a referral to a psychologist at a time when it could be most helpful in returning the injured worker to a modified duty or full time job. In many cases the insurance company had denied liability for some or all of the claim so people are without income until they can get in front of a judge to get an Order requiring the insurance company to start paying benefits. This adds to the frustration people feel with the insurance carrier, but also to their depression over the inability to get back to work and earning income. In Colorado there is a limited ability to change doctors but to do so you must contact an attorney in the first 90 days after the date of injury.
If you’ve been hurt at work, get professional help right away. Colorado’s workers’ compensation system is incredibly complicated and requires the expertise of a trained workers’ comp lawyer. Get in touch with the experts at Burg Simpson Colorado by calling 303-792-5595 of by filling out our Free Case Evaluation form here so we can fight for the compensation you deserve.