Traumatically losing a limb may occur due to a serious accident, combat or during a terrorist attack. Improvised explosive devices in military combat zones have increased the likelihood of soldiers losing limbs during combat. Furthermore, for non-military personnel diseases and medical conditions such as diabetes or cancer may also lead to a limb being amputated. When this problem occurs due to violence or a serious accident, patients may experience shock and develop posttraumatic stress disorder (or PTSD). This may even happen weeks, months or years after the event. Losing a limb due to an accident may make it difficult for people to accept their injury, but there is treatment for this debilitating condition.
While medical amputations due to gangrene or tumors may be referred to as non-traumatic, any loss of limb may cause someone to experience trauma. Emotional distress can be severe, and individuals who lose a limb may go through a grieving process. Mental distress may last long after physical recovery as individuals may develop low self-esteem and social anxiety due to a visible loss of limb or a prosthesis.
The loss of a limb may be difficult to cope with, and individual experiences may vary depending on a mental and physical health. Poor physical health may make it more difficult to heal, learn new routines and perform daily tasks after healing. This can lead to frustration and negative feelings, and may prolong the grieving process. Anxiety, depression or other mental health issues may become worse during healing, especially as patients adjust to their new lifestyle.
Losing a limb due to serious injury or a debilitating medical condition may cause depression or anxiety, and physical pain may worsen these issues. Grieving over losing mobility and physical independence may be difficult, and an individual may turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve stress. Other people may abuse prescription painkillers, either intentionally or unintentionally. Without support from loved ones and healthy coping methods, addiction may easily develop. Using drugs or alcohol to cope with trauma may cause people to ignore their feelings and keep them from adjusting to the loss of a limb. Addiction may complicate the recovery process and push away loved ones who are supportive.
Coping with trauma over losing a limb may make it difficult to quit drinking or using drugs. However, treatment can help you recover from trauma and learn to cope without using drugs or alcohol. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to talk to one of our counselors about treatment that can work for you.