Amputation can occur because of chronic illness or as a result of a traumatic injury. In the latter case, the emotional effects of amputation are often challenging to overcome, especially when under certain circumstances. Physiopedia explains the psychological impact amputation can have on a person.
There are a number of factors that influence how a person will react to an amputation. In general, younger kids often adapt better, while adolescents and teens may experience negative effects on their developing identity. No matter their age, people with a great investment in their personal appearance also have a harder time adapting to the loss of a limb. Pre-existing mental illness, such as depression, can also result in negative psychological effects.
In this case, some people express less healthy coping mechanisms. For instance, some people will refuse help and assistance even when it’s warranted. Others refuse to partake in physical therapy and rehab, which can restore function in many cases. This can lead to isolation and withdrawal from friends and family, which only exacerbates the emotional impact.
Other people will go through the five stages of grief, which includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not all people experience all five stages, and not all will reach the final stage of acceptance. When this stage is actually achieved, it usually occurs during the rehabilitation process. During the denial phase, phantom limb sensations are common. This can involve pain or sensations of movement pressure, as though the missing limb is still there and functioning. Symptoms usually occur immediately after limb removal, although in some cases it can take a few months. Over time, phantom limb and sensations usually resolve on their own.