The loss of a limb is a traumatic experience in all circumstances, but it is especially trying when it results from an accident or injury. Amputations are associated with a range of psychological effects, many of which can have lasting implications without the right help. Physiopedia explains how an amputation can take its toll on your mental and emotional health.
It’s understandable that a person’s body image would be affected by amputation. This often has a ripple effect on a person’s sexual identity, with both men and women reporting feelings of inadequacy post-surgery. Additionally, people who were concerned about physical appearance prior to the surgery tend to experience increased issues with self-esteem and confidence. This can easily lead to problems with depression and anxiety, which require the intervention of a counselor or therapist.
When it comes to dealing with the loss of a limb, coping styles vary. Some people adjust well and are able to look to the future, as well as the positive aspect of what occurred. This usually happens when a person receives an amputation after a prolonged illness. In this instance, a person may experience relief and be eager to begin rehab and physical therapy.
For people who have limbs amputated suddenly, less healthy coping may occur. Some refuse to take the proper steps toward recovery, instead preferring to remain in a helpless state. Others go the opposite route and are stubborn about receiving help, even when it’s warranted. While the five stages of grief can also apply to a loss of limb, some patients are unable to make it to the final stage of acceptance due to their feelings about what transpired.