Suicide disease strikes after accident
Our title stating that suicide disease strikes after accident may seem a bit sensationalistic. Unfortunately, there is a very real condition named trigeminal neuralgia (TN), which has been dubbed as the suicide disease. Sufferers describe the pain from this disorder as so intense that they wish they were not alive. Prior to a change in treatment, some struck with this ailment actually did take their lives.
What is Trigeminal Neuralgia?
A person who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia may be perplexed by the onset of chronic facial pain. Some may even visit their dentist thinking they are experiencing issues with their jaw or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems. The discomfort may start as short mild attacks and gradually escalate into overwhelming pain.
Trigeminal neuralgia is also referred to as tic douloureux and affects the trigeminal or fifth cranial nerve. There are three branches to the neve that can cause painful sensations to take a path from the upper, middle and lower portions of the face. Some describe the pain as quick electrical shocks. Many call it debilitating, both physically and mentally.
In most cases, the pain from TN only occurs on one side of the face. Although it is rare, some individuals have the misfortune to suffer from bilateral trigeminal neuralgia.
Trigeminal Neuralgia and Accidents
Not everyone who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia has been involved in an accident. TN sufferers are often women over age fifty. In some cases, a blood vessel may be pressing against the trigeminal nerve and causing pain. Some multiple sclerosis patients may also receive a trigeminal neuralgia diagnosis. Rarely, a tumor may lie on the trigeminal nerve and cause pain.
How does trauma play a part in TN? Any type of blow to the face can cause the onset of trigeminal neuralgia. Your face might hit the steering wheel in a car accident. Likewise, if you slip and fall and crash into the pavement, you may sustain trigeminal nerve injuries. If you already have been diagnosed with TN, the condition may be aggravated with even the slightest trauma.
How is Trigeminal Neuralgia Treated?
Unlike other traumatic injuries, trigeminal neuralgia does not respond to many “standard” painkillers. Sufferers are often placed on anticonvulsant medicines (those used to treat seizures). Often, medications are tried out to find the most effective. Some doctors will also prescribe antispasmodic drugs. These are considered conservative options. Those who cannot stand the pain may be candidates for surgical intervention.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have worked with those who suffer from trigeminal neuralgia as a result of a traumatic accident. We would be happy to discuss your legal options with you. Contact us for an appointment.