Persistent pain can cause depression or make it worse in those who are already depressed. This is haunting news for those injured in an accident by a negligent party. In my 14 years of representing the injured, I can not express how many times I have witnessed a doctor, insurance agent, defense lawyer and jury member dismiss an injured person’s complaints of pain assuming they were simply signs of prior depression.
It is important for doctors to note, and trial lawyers to point out, which medications are being prescribed specifically for pain due to an injury from the accident, rather than prior diagnosis of depression. Otherwise, it is too easy for defense lawyers, insurance agents, and jurors to identify the treatment with a prior existing condition of depression rather than pain due to a new injury.
There are many types of antidepressant medications that help people with persistent pain (from accident related migraines, headaches, brain injuries, back injuries, RSD, etc.) feel better and function better such as Tricyclic Antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Imipramine, Doxipine) and Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (Paxil, Effexor, Prozac).
A patient’s doctor can help determine the best type of anti-depressant to help treat the pain and limit side effects. In trial, the individual’s lawyer should highlight the reason that the medication is being prescribed, either for depression, pain, or both.
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