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How can I cope with feelings of anxiety and fear after a traumatic injury?

Many veterans with severe burn injuries live with anxiety and fear and often replay the trauma in their minds. Not only is the pain frightening when it intensifies for no reason, but the fear of what’s ahead with more surgeries and treatments can be overwhelming.

However, when you become obsessive about your fears and focus on what “might happen,” you become an obstacle in your quest to conquer the pain of the severe burn. High anxiety can lead to poor sleep, which can result in more pain the next day. Dwelling on fears can lead to feelings of sadness and make you want to be alone and you may stay isolated from family and friends.

You may lie awake at night, wondering if your pain will worsen or if your burn will get infected and require more treatment. You may also worry that your pain is caused by a more serious problem that your doctor has not yet diagnosed. On the other hand, you may be afraid that you’ll have to quit your job because of the severe burn and have to seek financial help for your family. Some veterans worry that their significant others will abandon them because of the injury and pain.

Talk to your VA doctor about any symptoms of anxiety and fear you have with a severe burn. Any severe injury that requires months of recovery can result in mental health issues that include emotional or behavioral problems. Along with anxiety and fear, you may have anger, sleep problems, and mood swings. Your VA doctor can help your feelings of depression using medications and/or psychotherapy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.