Managing the Emotional Issues of Amputation

Amputation Injury

Managing the Emotional Issues of Amputation

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Amputation Injury Lawyer. When the medical community discusses amputations, most of the attention is focused on amputation surgery and the physical therapy that might be required. This means that the patient’s emotional state could be neglected. Care of patients undergoing amputations should focus on the entire patient and not just their injury.

The Impact of the News

When patients learn that an amputation is required, they are likely going to be filled with a variety of emotions. Every patient is different and every patient is going to react to the news differently. Examples of emotions that patients are likely to feel include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness about the upcoming procedure
  • Depression or sadness with thoughts of the future
  • Anger or feeling that they have been cheated
  • Overwhelmed and unable to process the basic activities of daily life

Importantly, patients may not even realize that they are feeling these emotions. They may manifest themselves as:

  • Withdrawing from social situations and gatherings
  • An inability to sleep soundly at night
  • Increased shaking or jitteriness, noticeable when holding a glass or while trying to sit still
  • Anger towards the medical team or their loved ones

When patients are processing the news that a transhumeral amputation, foot amputation, or any other kind of amputation is required, it is important to take a step back and digest the news. Then, ask any questions that might be present. Gathering as much knowledge as possible will help process the emotions that come up. People who are trying to cope with losing a limb need the support, patience and help of friends, loved ones and their medical team as they begin to come to terms with their traumatic injury.

Fear of PTSD

Many patients who receive amputations are worried about developing PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Research studies have been published that demonstrate about one in five patients will develop PTSD following their amputation. Patients who have a history of depression or other psychiatric conditions are at an increased risk of developing PTSD. Patients who have an amputation at a young age are also at an increased risk. Therefore, it is important for patients to understand that the emotions that they feel after the surgery are typical. It is also important that they seek help and counseling from a professional provider if needed.

The Meaning of an Amputation

Many amputation patients also wonder what an amputation means for their life moving forward. This is a difficult question to answer because every amputation is different and every patient is different. For example, an amputation for a patient who cannot move is going to be viewed differently than an amputation for a professional athlete. Regardless, every patient should strive to find meaning in their life moving forward and remember that their life is not defined by the presence or absence of whatever was amputated. Find solace in loved ones, cultural traditions, spiritual sources and from nature. Having something to hold on to and look forward to will aid the healing process.


Sacramento Amputation Injury Lawyer, Ed Smith

Contact an Experienced Sacramento Amputation Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Amputation Injury Lawyer. If you or someone you care about suffered an amputation injury due to an accident, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. I help injured people recover compensation for their damages due to the careless or negligent actions of others.

I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum in California. Our forum’s membership includes personal injury lawyers who have been rated as some of the country’s top trial attorneys. The lawyers in our forum have attained verdicts and settled cases of over one million dollars.

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Source: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Reactions to Amputation: Recognition and Treatment, by Epstein et al.

Image Source: via Wikimedia Commons. The image is from the US Navy and, therefore, is public domain.

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