When children suffer from serious injuries -- such as burn injuries -- it can have a devastating mental and emotional impact. They no longer feel in control. They no longer feel safe. Even after they physically recover, these feelings may continue.
In some cases, this type of trauma can lead to:
- Stress and anxiety
- Clinical depression
- Substance abuse
- Compulsive behaviors and obsessive thinking
- Social isolation
- Issues with intimacy in relationships
- Abusive relationships
- Issues with boundaries
- Trouble falling asleep at night
- Waking up too early
- Peptic ulcers
- Eating disorders like binging, anorexia, overeating and bulimia
- Lack of responsibility
- Excessive risk-taking
- Running away from problems
These are just a few examples, but it is clear that trauma at a young age can have a lasting impact and change a child's life forever. It can create disorders that manifest differently in everyone.
For instance, a child who suffers serious burns could have nightmares and flashbacks that ruin that child's sleep cycle. They may feel depressed and anxious all the time, waiting for something else traumatic to happen. If the burns leave visible marks, the child may feel like a social outsider and have trouble forging relationships with others. This can, in turn, make the depression and anxiety worse. All of these future issues, which define that person's life as an adult, link back to that one injury as a child.
It is important to consider this potential impact when your child suffers serious injuries. The damage is not only physical. Make sure you understand all of the legal options that you have as a parent.