PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF AMPUTATION
An amputee has to face multi-directional challenges. Not only does amputation affect body image and sensation but functionality as well. The psychological reactions from amputation might vary greatly from amputee to amputee and depends on a number of factors. In most of the cases, the predominant effect is the experience of being an amputee along with the loss of body image, sensation, and removal or limb, arm or leg.
Amputation does not affect a person’s ability but his relationships and career too. While some psychological might be constructive and helpful, others are transient. However, only a few serious psychological reactions of amputees require future psychological assessments such as psychosis.
How Many People Go Through Psychological Reactions After Amputation?
Approximately 30% of amputees have to deal with anxiety and depression. In the long-term and short-term follow-up and after-effects of amputation, decreased self-esteem, sense of immobility, psychological morbidity, decreased independence, distorted body shape and high levels of social isolation are some of the problems that an amputee might go through.
Psychological Reactions to Amputation
Some reactions are immediate and mostly depend on the news of amputation. For instance, if the amputation was pre-planned or occurred due to medical illness, the patient would not give such a rough reaction to it. However, if the patient ends up with amputation after an accident, you could expect an immediate reaction.
If the patient learns about amputation beforehand, anxiety could change into rage and depression in no time. anxiety might be caused due to the prospect of limb pain or due to the fact that the limb would be removed sooner or later.
Post Traumatic Disorder
The post-traumatic disorder is a common psychological disorder found in amputees that have faced suicidal and burn attempts or an accidental injury. However, if we talk about the patients who had it coming since due to medical illness, the post-traumatic disorder is found in only 5% of the amputees.
Your cosmetic appearance of body image tends to play a great role in how you feel. However, it might also contribute to the psychological sequelae of physical impairment or amputation.
Amputees could go through a number of body image-related problems such as sexual dysfunction or impairment.
In some cases, mutilation anxiety can also affect a person’s sexual abilities. Women in amputation feel a sense of guilt and look down upon themselves as if they have been punished for imagined amputation transgression. While men feel castrated or neutered by amputation.
Some psychological reactions, as mentioned above can be useful, positive and constructive. For instance, a person after a long period of illness or loss of function might get up and involve in constructive activities. Some might feel as if it’s useless to grieve over the past and end up moving on with their lives.
A case study showed that people who had positive reactions by amputation thought about their amputated limb. Participants stated that amputation and prosthesis made them independent and they coped better in all aspects of life.