When amputations occur because of a traumatic accident, the psychological effects can be profound. For many people, the experience is similar to losing a loved one, and it can be hard to adapt to a new reality in the days preceding the operation, as well as the time after occurs. Physiopedia offers the following information on the type of effects amputation can have on a person’s psyche.
There are different types of coping styles for people undergoing amputation. In many cases, people will advance through the five stages of grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Upon reaching a state of acceptance the patient will usually come to terms with the loss of limb and take the proper steps to recover, usually through physical therapy and rehabilitation. For others, coping styles may take on a negative aspect.
For instance, some people will be overly hostile and refuse help even when it's necessary. Others take the opposite approach and cling to assistance even when it’s not warranted. These people may attempt to remain ill, even if they’ve made strides towards recovery. Others still might withdraw from society and deny the psychological impact of losing a limb.
Certain factors can also influence the emotional response to amputation. When amputation occurs as a result of a prolonged illness, it’s often easier for the person to cope, as it’s likely he or she will have gone through the grieving stages during the illness. However, for those who lose limbs due to traumatic accidents or events, the suddenness of the situation often makes adjusting that much harder. Personality also plays a role. Because amputation can be linked to body image, those who are highly image-conscious usually have a harder time adjusting.