Burn Survivor Emotional Distress

By: Michael Appleman, M.S.


It has been seen that most burn survivors who suffer 2nd, 3rd and 4th degree burns suffer from emotional issues. Many burn survivors go through anger, anxiety, concentration issues, depression, difficulty sleeping, helplessness, hopelessness and irritability, low energy and problems relaxing your mind and body. For anyone it can be difficult to deal with a major burn injury, the pain, major life changes and having to depend on others to do things for you. A burn survivor can also feel alone since everyone around them did not suffer a burn injury.

During the recovery period in a burn unit, hospital and at home a burn survivor must live with pain, medical treatment, medications, surgeries and having to listen to the doctors and nurses. This can create a great deal of anger and emotional pain. A family member or the burn survivor should contact BSTTW and request our support. A BSTTW representative would be very happy to speak with both the burn survivor and family members, if possible meet with them face to face and offer advice and friendship.

While in the burn unit and at home a burn survivor can suffer from loss of individuality, loss of family and friends, intimate relationship issues, pain, physical and limitations, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), physical discomfort, their physical appearance and worries about the future.


Emotional distress can interfere with the way your mind works and the ways your body functions. You can suffer from poor memory and short term attention span. Psychological issues can cause us difficulties during our recovery. Some of those difficulties can be sleep issues, problems with your daily interests and pleasures, not wanting to go to rehabilitation therapy and wound care, increase pain and itching and having difficulties communicating with family members, friends and burn survivors.


The first step in recovering from the emotional stress is to speak with your doctor about the issues you are going through. You might be given medication(s) that can help some but not all of your issues. Next it would help to meet with a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health counselor or social worker. You might want to contact a nonprofit organization for the burn survivor community like BSTTW, take part in the BSTTW Weekly Chat, BSTTW Weekly Chat List, contact and meet with a BSTTW Support Team Member, BSTTW Support Team Eform online, by telephone and/or face to face. You should try to exercise, be active, eat properly and get sufficient sleep.

When you feel down it is very important to speak with a family member, the therapist or a burn survivor. Many burn survivors can not only understand what you are going through. He/she can offer you suggestions and talk to you about he/she worked through the same or similar emotional issues.

It is important for you to keep a positive attitude and get involved in the burn survivor community. You can become a BSTTW Volunteer by filling out and submitting the BSTTW Volunteer Contact Eform.