If you have undergone an amputation, you may experience feelings of
Typically, a scheduled amputation involves less shock and fear than an accidental amputation. However, adjustment to physical limitations resulting from amputation are the same in both.
If you experienced an amputation as a result of a traumatic event, you may feel shock, fear, and helplessness.
If the amputation was due to cancer, diabetes, or chronic illness, you might have had time for preparation, such as discussion with family and consultation with physicians, psychologists, or social workers.
Commonly experienced responses to amputation include
- grief over the loss of the limb;
- struggle with resulting physical limitations; and
- feeling self-conscious of the amputation site.
The amputation may change the way you see and feel about yourself. You may become more introverted, feel inferior, and become more socially isolated. Anger and frustration are also common responses to amputation.
For additional information about psychological reaction to amputation, please contact a local mental health professional or view our list of resources.
Grief and denial are very natural reactions following an amputation. It is important to acknowledge the grief and anger, so you can begin accepting the amputation.
The loss of a limb may change your relationship with spouse, family, and others. It may be hard for you to admit that a loss has been suffered. It is painful and you will grieve.
Remember, the feeling of loss is not due just to the loss of limb, but to losses in function as well. Depending on your particular amputation, even your choice of career may change. A mental health professional can assist you in your grieving process.
For additional information about grief and amputation, please contact a local mental health professional or view our list of resources.
The majority of amputees recover without lasting major depression, but you might be troubled by bouts of depression over an extended period of time.
Your body image changes when a limb has been amputated. This change can create anxiety. You may feel that you've lost the way you looked before the event.
You might also be shocked to return home and find that your pre-injury lifestyle does not work well. You may experience feelings of helplessness, lack of control, or even shame over your new physical appearance. This is all very common.
Despair or extended depression, however, can lead to thoughts of suicide. Do not wait until depression becomes profound. Every amputee needs someone to talk to, and some may need a professional counselor or therapist.
Family members may also benefit from counseling. The changes you are going through affect them also. It is important not to let loved ones do so much for you that you begin to see yourself as disabled. Open communication within the family is important.
Amputation changes life forever, and has been compared to the death of a close relative or friend. Different people handle it differently. Experts recommend dealing with one thing at a time and celebrating successes rather than dwelling on problems.
For additional information about depression and amputation, please contact a local mental health professional or view our list of resources.