Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Social Isolation

It is isolating, if not alienating, to be an injured worker. A serious injury is a uniquely frightening and anxiety-provoking experience.

The amount of tissue damage is rarely understood by the patient. The medical terminology is confusing. The final diagnosis may come long after the injury. And each office visit, diagnostic study, procedure, referral, or medication must await approval.

The patient has decidedly little choice in what transpires or its time frame. His anxiety turns to fear which in turn leads to suspicion and distrust.

One of the questions I ask when seeing an injured worker is: “Is there anyone involved in your care or your case with whom you are uncomfortable.”

Without fail, the patient then refers to those whom he/she does not trust.

In several ways, the role of an injured worker is similar to that of someone in prison. Your individuality is lost and replaced by decisions which are made independnent of your input.

Calls to the employer, the insurer, the physician or the attorney are slow to be returned. The patient values each passing moment but soon realizes that he is the only one feeling this time-urgency. All others involved in his case have lives of their own, other committments and often quite different priorities.

The patients are most often isolated and making themselves and their families quite miserable.

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