Body image disorder: The hand is known to play a predominant role in the definition and maintenance of body image and scheme of the individual. It’s also essential for social functions in Western and Eastern culture, like for example, the importance of a handshake as a mean of approaching or meeting people.
The loss of one body extremity may be devastating for the body image disorders, and for the inability to perform tasks of daily living, work or sport. Moreover there are psychological influences and the loss of social skills.
Since the early years of life, we take confidence with our appearance and we are facing with people’s reaction to it. The rapid change caused by trauma (accident or surgery) puts the person in front of the risk of not recognizing His/Her own body as such sometimes creating anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation and pain. The inner body image, unchanged for years, figths against the exterior image developed after an amputation or surgery, developing an intrapsychic conflict and often non-acceptance of the new situation till to its negation.
Many years of experience in this area have demonstrated the importance of a multidisciplinary approach with a close cooperation between physician-therapist-patient and a pivotal figure represented by the psychologist/psychiatrist.
The psychologist will try and balance the expectations raised by the patient and relatives and the surgical and rehabilitative possibilities. He’s topical in counselling patients in a process of debriefing and acceptance of the new situation especially in post-traumatic/post-surgical stress disorders disease (anxiety, fragility, vulnerability). At a later stage is useful to process the loss of body image, planning alternatives to be figured out to reduce the functional limitation in the context of daily activities, social reintegration, sports, and business.