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Can amputation have an emotional impact?

Being injured as a result of another person’s carelessness can be traumatic. This trauma is compounded when amputation results, which can be a factor in catastrophic car crashes and other accidents. Physiopedia explains the emotional component of amputation, which can take quite a toll on the person going through the experience.

When a loss of limb results from a traumatic injury, many people have problems coping. A person’s body image may be significantly impacted, especially among those with a real investment in their appearance before the accident. Some people also experience a feeling of sexual inadequacy when losing a limb. Also, adolescents and teens undergoing amputation often experience body dysmorphia.

Some people become hostile after an amputation takes place. This can result in their lashing out when offered help, even when that help is needed. Others have the opposite reaction and may assume a role of helplessness. These people will refuse to undergo rehab and therapy so they can remain in a helpless state. This prevents proper healing and gets in the way of rehabilitation efforts.

Many people also go through the five stages of grief that occur when a loved one dies. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not everyone makes it through each stage. Some people never reach acceptance and continue to experience negative feelings about their amputation. Others are able to recover independence thanks to their rehab and are able to resume their lives again. Age, the reason for the amputation, and the person’s prior mental state all play a role in their acceptance. 

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