Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Amputation Psychology

The importance of a psychological examination for anyone who has suffered a work-related amputation is mandatory.

We all function within what is called our body-ego. This is how we see ourselves and determines the emotional comfort that we experience with our own physical appearance. It explains the differences between outer and inner beauty and why narcissistic preoccupation with our own appeal can lead to maladaptive personality development.

When we lose part of our body, suddenly and traumatically, our body is forever changed. Often a man losing a finger has less of an emotional impact than a woman losing a finger. Since a man may use even his non-dominant hand in his manual labor work, the loss of fingers or hand can be devastating for some males. They may feel that they have no employment options, they are _less of a man_ and/or they are now helpless and dependent.

In general, men and women deal differently with amputation. And there are those for whom amputation is rapidly accepted, and those for whom amputation is incomprehensible and adjustment is extremely difficult.

What you are trying to determine with a psychological examination is whether the patient can, and will, adapt to the loss or whether they need some assistance in making that adjustment.

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