3 MIN READ | Health Psychology

Physical Impairment Can Cause Psychological Issues

Dennis Relojo-Howell

Cite This
Dennis Relojo-Howell, (2020, July 22). Physical Impairment Can Cause Psychological Issues. Psychreg on Health Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/physical-impairment-psychological-issues/
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Physical impairment and disability are both conditions that affect an individual’s mobility, stamina, physical capacity, and dexterity. This condition stems from several factors. It can be congenital, such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, or cerebral palsy. 

The disability could be acquired due to an accident like amputation, traumatic brain injury, or paralysis due to spinal cord damage. And finally, the physical impairment can be due to aging such as hearing loss, vision problems, immobility due to arthritis, and lack of strength because of brittle bones and muscle degeneration.

Struggling to cope 

Usually, people who are afflicted with a disability experience deep psychological issues. Those who are born with it feel inadequate when they compare themselves with their peers. The same holds true for those who experience sudden impairment. When people no longer have the capability to control their bodies, they lose the freedom to do what they want. They can no longer easily do daily tasks or engage in hobbies and sports. The activities that once sparked a passion and gave them a sense of fulfilment can no longer be enjoyed. 

It is understandable why some people who acquire disabilities suffer from severe depression, anxiety, and inability to accept the new situation. Those who suffer from physical issues often lose their zest for life, as they find it very difficult to adjust to their limitations. Most of them feel useless since they need assistance for things they used to be well-versed in doing. 

Declining health and ageing

A perfect example of this scenario is older adults. As people age, it is common to struggle with declining health, which is the normal part of the life cycle. Issues like high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, dementia, and the like set in. No matter how much a person tries to delay these comorbidities with a good diet or exercise, the body will just naturally deteriorate as the days go by. 

As such, it is common for the elderly to experience feelings of sadness, pain, frustration, and denial because they no longer have control of their once agile bodies. It is important for caregivers to give tips for managing mobility problems in seniors so they can still enjoy the twilight of their life despite their health difficulties. 

Dealing with different variables

When it comes to dealing with impairments, psychosocial variables come into play. Several factors could influence the psychological state of a person with physical disabilities. Knowing these will help families, friends, and caregivers provide ample assistance to help their disabled loved one. It is also important for the one who is impaired to also understand their own health conditions. 

Health literacy is vital, so those who are suffering from disabilities can manage their medication and do the right steps to help in their overall wellness. It is also crucial for the families to thoroughly comprehend the diagnosis, so they can help with the disbursement of medicines and other therapies.

Pain management may be necessary because it is common to feel aches and pains which interfere with daily life.

Those who suffer from physical immobility also need a lot of social support. They will find it easier to adjust to their new circumstances when they are surrounded by people who care. With the encouragement of loved ones, those who are disabled will be able to find their new purpose in life. They realise that it is not the end of the world because being alive and breathing is already a gift in itself. Support plays are a huge role when it comes to stimulating resilience and rekindling feelings of motivation. 

Offering valuable tips

Family and friends must be there for those who are struggling with physical disabilities. This presence becomes even more crucial when it comes to dealing with older people. Since they are emotionally fragile and vulnerable, their loved ones need to assuage their fears and apprehensions.

Feelings of insecurity arise when they feel they are no longer needed and useful. Apart from their failing health and loss of mobility, they also no longer earn as much as they used to. 

Thus, loved ones must follow these tips to improve mobility for seniors. Encourage them to go out to see friends, grandkids, and extended family members help lift their spirits. Even if they are slow in moving, taking them to walk around the park will do wonders for their mental health. Seniors must also be taught new exercises to loosen the joints, fed the right diet, and provided with supportive devices to help them do tasks. Family members must put bright lights around the house and shower pull bars to prevent slippage. For the elderly who really find it difficult to do daily tasks, an assisted living community may be helpful.  

Final word

It is important to be more patient towards those who are suffering from physical impairments. Remember, other than the physical problems they are also dealing with the psychological trauma because they can no longer control their bodies to do those things they once enjoyed and excelled in. No one wants to be in that kind of situation, so empathy is key. 

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Image credit: Freepik


Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He interviews people within psychology, mental health, and well-being on his YouTube channel, The DRH Show.

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