Question

What are some of the psychological responses to amputation? What are the treatments?

Answer

There are certain universal responses that seem consistent across all amputations: self-pity, anxiety, shock, grief, anger, and frustration. The person may experience feelings of inferiority, social isolation, and negative self-worth. Reactive depressions are common and character disorders may be exacerbated. These psychological reactions may negatively impact the potential for adaptation to the prosthetic device and the individual’s ability to learn how to properly use the device. All of these psychological responses should be met with appropriate levels of counseling and therapeutic intervention. If severe enough, the psychological response may warrant psychiatric intervention and the inclusion of psychotropic medication.

(Panton, H. “Psychosocial Factors.” In P. Deutsch and H. Sawyer (Ed.) A Guide to Rehabilitation. White Plains, NY: AHAB Press.)

 

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