Archive for July, 2017

postheadericon The link between amputation and mental health

No one but actual amputees can describe how it feels to have a limb amputated. If you have a family member or a friend who has recently undergone amputation, be on the lookout for signs of mental strain. Equip yourself with a thorough understanding of the various mental illnesses that can affect new amputees.

Also reassure amputees that they are not alone. According to the Amputee Coalition there are about two million amputees in the United States. The main causes for amputation are vascular disease (including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease) which accounts for 54 per cent, trauma which accounts for 45 per cent and cancer which accounts for less than two per cent of amputations. About 185 000 amputations are performed in the US each year and the collective cost of the hospital bills comes to a staggering US$8.3 billion.

The financial and socioeconomic impacts amputation can have are devastating but one mustn’t neglect to regularly check for mental health irregularities.


Many amputees in the US are war veterans. Recent statistics show that 20 veteran amputees commit suicide each day due to depression. Dealing with an amputation can have a severe impact on one’s mental health so this should be monitored closely. According to the Journal of Medical Psychiatry most amputees go through five stages which include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Unfortunately, depression can consume an individual’s thoughts long before they start to accept their fate.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

PTSD is more common in amputees who survived combat or accidental injury. The Belgian University of Trakya evaluated 22 amputee patients and reported its findings in an article titled “Acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder following traumatic amputation.”Eleven patients had work-related accidents, six were in traffic accidents, two experienced crush injuries, two endured gunshots and one suffered a severe burn wound. It was found that six months after amputation 77 per cent of these amputees suffered from severe PTSD. Only five of the 22 patients’ mental health was regarded as normal.

What can I do?

If you suspect that a love done might be suffering from depression or PTSD following amputation, consult a qualified psychiatric practitioner before you attempt to help him or her. Also talk to your doctor about consulting a prosthetics professional for a custom-made prosthesis; this helps amputees return to their normal lives and it assists with reintegration into society.

Read about amputation. This cannot be stressed enough; be sure to be educated about amputation and the effects thereof. Be supportive at all times. It is normal to get stressed or frustrated but do not express this in front of the amputee.


Amputee Coalition:

Acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder following traumatic amputation:

Journal of Medical Psychiatry: