EnglishSpanishChineseHindiVietnameseKoreanJapaneseTagalogLike us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter YouTube Google+ LinkedIn Follow Reeve on Instagram

Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

[+] Text[-] Text             print

How do I adjust to my spinal cord injury? Is depression common after an injury?

Adjustment to paralysis is a process of changing one's thoughts and feelings and is something that takes time. The goal of adjusting is to rebuild one's identity and to find a new balance in relationships. The stages of adjustment can include grieving, taking control, talking about your disability, taking care of yourself, and looking ahead.

Depression is a serious medical disorder that affects your thoughts, feelings, physical health and behaviors as well as other aspects of your life. Depression can cause physical and psychological symptoms. It can worsen pain, make sleep difficult, cause loss of energy, take away your enjoyment of life and make it difficult for you to take good care of your health.

Other symptoms include oversleeping, change in weight, loss of interest or pleasure, and/or negative thoughts. Depression is common in the spinal cord injury population--affecting about 1 in 5 people. If you are concerned that you may be suffering from depression, please speak with your physician.

Read more about depression as a secondary issue of SCI.

Agency for Health Care Research and QualityOffers information on antidepressants, especially on various side effects.

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Religion and People with Disabilities (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Depression (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Mindfullness (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on New Injury Top 10 Questions (PDF)

Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine, Clinical Practice GuidelinesThe Guidelines, available at no cost from the Paralyzed Veterans of America, are targeted to professionals. A consumer version is also available: Depression After Spinal Cord Injury, What You Should Know.

National Suicide Prevention LifelineNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

National Library of MedicineDiscussion of depression and treatment options.

The Spinal Cord Injury Information Network: DepressionResources and materials related to depression.

University of Washington/Department of Rehabilitation MedicineOffers a series of pamphlets: Staying Healthy after a Spinal Cord Injury; depression is covered.

Quality of Life Grants DatabaseFind resources within the PRC Quality of Life Grants Database. Search by Zip Code, State or an Entire Category.

Library Books and VideosFind resources within the PRC library catalog.

  • Email our Paralysis Information Specialists
  • Call our Paralysis Information Specialists
  • Call our Paralysis Information Specialists
  • Newly paralyzed or spinal cord injured? Start here.
Find Resources in Your Area

Check out programs in your area on our one-of-a kind online searchable Quality of Life program database. You can search by location or topic. GO


The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

The information provided in the Paralysis Resource Center was supported by Cooperative Agreement number 1U59DD000838-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the Reeve Foundation and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.