Treating athletes who develop psychiatric illness requires understanding the importance of sports in the patient’s life. Athletes may form an identity based on participation in sports, and disruptions to this lifestyle caused by injury or other factors can result in depression, anxiety, stress disorders, or suicide. For athletes who have depressive symptoms, psychotherapy may be preferred to pharmacotherapy as a first-line treatment.
O’Connell and Manschreck discuss the psychiatric risks athletes go through, particularly in times of injury. A list of some of the most common mental conditions associated with injured athletes:
O’Connell, Samantha, and Theo C. Manschreck. “Playing Through the Pain: Psychiatric Risks Among Athletes.” Current Psychiatry. Vol. 11, No. 7. July 2012.
Samantha O’Connell, PhD
Clinical Psychologist, Performance Enhancement Consultant, Boston, MA
Theo C. Manschreck, MD, MPH
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA