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Spinal injuries and mental health: What new research says

New research published by the University of Michigan is taking a hard look into some of the lesser-known consequences of traumatic spinal injuries: the psychological damage caused by living with the condition.

Researchers compared adults with spinal cord injuries to the general population. Their research revealed that victims of spinal cord injuries suffered markedly higher rates of anxiety and depression than those without such injuries. Spinal cord injury victims are also more likely to suffer from two or more mental health disorders at a time than their non-injured counterparts.

That's not all they found, however. Aside from increased mental health issues, spinal cord injury victims also tend to suffer from additional health conditions at a much higher rate than their uninjured peers. They have an increased risk of developing conditions including circulatory problems, pulmonary diseases, diabetes and cancer.

Researchers theorize that part of the problem may be the fact that a spinal cord injury tends to require extensive rest and rehabilitation in a hospital bed The lack of exercise and activity may have a profoundly negative impact on the lives of victims over time.

A spinal injury can leave the victim unable to ambulate on their own or entirely helpless, depending on the injury's location. Even relatively "minor" spinal cord damage can leave the victim with permanent incontinence and chronic pain that will last a lifetime. Even with all the advances in modern medicine today, spinal injuries still confound science because of just how unpredictable they can be -- and how hard they can be to treat.

If you or a loved one was struck by a negligent driver and now needs extensive care due to a spinal cord injury, find out more about your legal right to seek compensation.

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