Anxiety disorder is a normal stress response that has become chronic. 

While it may be normal to feel anxious about certain events such as an amputation, constant anxiety needs treatment. Anxiety can be triggered by a major stress in one’s life so it is often a concern for amputees and their loved ones.  Signs of an anxiety disorder include:

  • You have worries that you cannot stop
  • You worry about things that other people would not spend time worrying about.
  • You feel emotionally on edge all the time.
  • Your body feels physically tense all the time.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, fidgeting, stomach ache and shallow breathing.
  • You lie awake at night.
  • You find it difficult to concentrate.
  • You find yourself avoiding your usual activities due to stress.
  • You anticipate disaster and expect the worst possible outcomes to events.

If you develop long term anxiety after your amputation, therapy and medication may help you. Discuss the issue with your doctor you may be referred to a psychologist or counsellor who specialises in anxiety management.

Caffeine Reduction: For some people anxiety is made worse by caffeine.  If you are anxious caffeine reduction may alleviate the symptoms. The obvious sources of caffeine are coffee, colas, tea and energy drinks. Less obvious sources are chocolate, some pain medications, weight loss supplements and mocha flavoured foods.

Post Traumatic Stress

Post traumatic stress is caused by going through or witnessing a traumatic event.  It is often associated with war veterans but it can happen to anyone who goes through an event that causes fear, injury, pain and a chance of death. The body triggers an emergency response as a form of self preservation.  In post traumatic stress disorder this feeling of panic does not stop.

Post traumatic stress can affect amputees and those close to them.  The signs of post traumatic stress disorder are:

  • Repeated flashbacks to the event
  • Nightmares and trouble sleeping.
  • Feeling ‘numb’ or emotionless
  • Anxiety when reminded of the event by people, locations, objects, sounds etc..
  • Avoiding reminders of the event e.g. not being able to drive on a certain street.
  • Being unable to remember some parts of the event but vividly recalling other parts.
  • Hyper­vigilance and constantly feeling alert
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Uncharacteristic irritability and anger

If you find this happening to you or someone close to you professional help is needed. There are treatments available including medication and therapy so talk to your doctor.