Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Injury, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Preparing for the Afterlife

The workers’ compensation system is a confining one that is equal measure security and repression. Your income, health care and activities are controlled by a governing source. There is very little freedom and flexibility, and as the months and then years pass, the patient adapts to this passive-depedent role.

Eventually, and sometimes abruptly, administrative closure occurs. The patient has been released MMI, some settlement offer has been made, and they are clumsily extracted from the system and now free to go. Go where?

Quite often the patient has chronic residual pain, and with reluctance, he/she has been medicated with narcotics. Is his private physician now going to be comfortable and willing to continue to prescribe these medications? Or, instead, must the patient seek a pain management center as a private patient?

This creates the second concern. What health insurance company is now going to fund post-injury health care? Medicare, Medicaid, or can the patient find an employer who will provide the patient with private health care for pre-existing conditions? Many providers will not accept Medicare or Medicaid patients.

Injections, physical therapies, re-checks and re-fills – life has been scheduled around these appointments, often located far from home and taking up most of the day. How is the patient’s time now to be spent?

The central issue is that humans live by finding purpose to their lives. Despair arises from our failure to find a specific meaning to life, and purposeful activities to fill our days. Yet, the injured worker is released back into a world in which there may be no meaningful role. No service is povided to equip the patient with the decisions that follow administrative closure.

“Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.”

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