Neurorehabilitation of behavioral disorders following lightning and electrical trauma

NeuroRehabilitation. 2005;20(1):25-33.


Neurobehavioral problems after lightning and electrical injuries are diverse. Commonly reported are decreased cognitive function, pain syndromes, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and significant alterations in social and work roles. While the problems resemble those following other kinds of accidents, the injury scenarios for lightning and electrical trauma are unique, and seem to invite more skepticism and controversy in medical and legal realms when the survivors seek help. Studies of lightning and electrical injuries have identified disabling neuropsychiatric changes for some survivors, often persistent and occasionally progressive, that appear weakly related to litigation status, inconsistently related to injury scenarios, and likely influenced by individual premorbid emotional and coping patterns. Standards of care in the fields of brain injury, behavioral medicine, and psychotherapy can inform rehabilitation strategies. Proper assessment is important, as well as an individualized approach to treatment. Multidisciplinary intervention focuses on managing symptoms, learning compensatory skills, providing psychosocial support, and preventing maladaptive behaviors. It has been therapeutic for some patients to become activists for better awareness and prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Lightning Injuries / prevention & control
  • Lightning Injuries / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Risk Factors