The Psychological Impact of Having An Accident At Work

eye injury compensation

Workplace accidents may or may not have long-term physical effects. But while bruises and cuts generally get all the attention, the psychological impact of an accident is often overlooked. For example, an employee who sustains an eye injury at work may seek compensation from his company. However, the eye injury compensation he receives may not account for the psychological challenges he may experience long after his physical injuries heal. Although his vision may be intact, his confidence, social life, and relationships may be affected.

Accidents at work may also contribute to the development of certain mental health issues. Consider these three mental health conditions below:


Depending on the severity of an accident, an employee could be significantly affected by anxiety. Anxiety disorders cause high levels of emotional distress. In some cases, these conditions may require medical treatment. Anxiety affects different people in different ways, but some of the most common symptoms and signs include:

  • Fear
  • Excessive worry
  • Flashbacks of a traumatic event
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of sleep

People who are experiencing severe forms of anxiety after an accident in the workplace may need to seek professional treatment. Therapy may be needed particularly if the accident resulted in the loss of life, almost resulted in the loss of life, or caused severe injuries.


Studies show that depression may occur up to three months after a workplace injury. Post-injury depression may have a number of adverse effects and may even prolong an employee’s recovery period, delay his return to work, and impact his motivation. These issues may lead to reduced job performance if the employee is able to return to work.

Symptoms of post-injury depression occur on a wide spectrum and can be hard to detect. However, mood swings, personality issues, adjustment issues, or a lack of advocating for one’s own recovery may all be signs of depression.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

A serious accident at work may lead to one or more employees developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The onset of this condition is often triggered after the affected person witnesses a terrifying or traumatic event.

Unwanted and intrusive flashbacks are common symptoms of posttraumatic stress. Generally, PTSD symptoms are separated into four clusters: re-experiencing, avoidance, hyperarousal and negative thoughts and beliefs. If left untreated, PTSD may lead to unhealthy coping strategies such as alcohol and drug abuse. It may also contribute to the development of other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

People with PTSD are encouraged to seek therapy. There are many treatment options available, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy.

Image courtesy of Ronald Mercer