Any health care professional who works with people who have lost limbs recognizes that the psychological challenges their patients battle every day are tough. This is perhaps an understatement, since for most people, losing a limb profoundly impacts every aspect of their life — mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. De-pending upon age, psychological health before the loss, financial situation, circumstances of the loss (trauma, disease or congenital), society’s values and support or lack of support from family and friends, the road to recovery can be relatively quick or prolonged.
Most psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who treat people who have lost a limb stress the importance of treating patients holistically. The totality of a patient’s life must be considered, e.g., work, family, gender, age, health and self-esteem. No two people will experience the processing of the natural feelings of grief, denial and anger at the same preconceived time or sequence, nor will the intensity of these feelings be identical. Some individuals never encounter certain feelings. While people who receive an amputation do tend to go through psychological stages, there is no standard pattern.