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The 5 steps of loss with patient disfigurement

When a patient suffers with disfigurement, there are stages of loss he or she goes through. It’s impossible for any patient to suffer such a severe injury without having to go through some realization of loss. The injury affects appearance, and that can change a person’s entire life.

When a person is suffering following disfigurement, there could be signs of mental anguish, depression or other concerns. As the loved one of someone trying to understand life with a disfigurement, there are a few things you should know.

1. The stages of loss: Defined but not linear

While you can recognize the stages of loss, don’t think that they’re linear. The stages, denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, can happen multiple times and in any order. For instance, your child could suffer an injury to the face that leaves scarring. He or she may be angry or depressed at first. Several months later, your child may struggle with isolation. Other days, he or she may act as if he’s accepted the injury as it is.

2. Environmental factors play a role in acceptance

If a person who suffers a severe injury and disfigurement returns to work and faces scrutiny, it’s likely that the psychological healing that needs to take place won’t for some time. Comparatively, someone who is accepted with open arms and treated normally may feel more relaxed about the condition, even though unhappy with his or her appearance. The way families, friends and others react is important, so families can help by treating the individual as normally as possible.

Disfigurements are sometimes able to be altered through plastic surgeries, with the use of makeup or other treatments. If there was an accident that caused the disfigurement, the party responsible should be held liable, so the patient has access to all the necessary medical treatments available.

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