Diabetic neuropathy – or nerve damage – occurs in 60 to 70% of people who are diagnosed with diabetes. If not taken care of properly, this dangerous condition could lead to an amputation. This traumatic event is difficult and for certain patients, it could lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you have type 2 diabetes and may need an amputation or are struggling with the after effects from this surgery, then you should be aware of the potential diagnosis of PTSD.

PTSD can be a side effect of amputation.
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PTSD and Medical Trauma

PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered either by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Symptoms can include nightmares, anxiety, flashbacks, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Many times PTSD is associated with the trauma of war time or sexual assault, but a lesser discussed topic is the very real reaction towards medical trauma which can also trigger PTSD.

“Trauma experienced as a result of medical procedures, illnesses, and hospital stays can have lasting effects. Those who experience medical trauma can develop clinically significant reactions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, complicated grief, and somatic complaints [a mental disorder which manifests as physical symptoms],” explains the American Counseling Association. Complications associated with PTSD, “can lead people to seek counseling for ongoing support, growth, and healing.”

The Link Between Diabetes and PTSD

There are two very clear links between type 2 diabetes and PTSD:

  1. A study was performed in Germany involving 2,970 people ages 32-81 years old who had PTSD. It was found that 333 subjects has type 2 diabetes and 498 were prediabetic leading reachers to believe that PTSD may trigger stressors in the body which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
  2. Conversely, having type 2 diabetes and experiencing complications such as ulcers, infection, and gangrene that lead to multiple hospital visits and even amputation can severely impact the mental health of the patient. The International Medical Journal of Malaysia published a study that found that up to one third of patients with diabetic foot ulcers battle depression. “Patients who had to undergo amputation may experience grief, adjustment disorder, depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Upon discovering that amputation is required, patients may go through alternating periods of anxiety and depression directed towards the perceived negative attitudes of people towards amputees. Following the amputation, grief or adjustment disorder may develop.”

What Can You Do If You Have PTSD?  

If you lack interest in daily activities, have difficulty concentrating, are easily angered, can’t fall asleep, or experience panic attacks, you may have PTSD. Contact your doctor to see what treatment options are available. He may suggest therapy, support groups, or medications to help you to manage this difficult condition.


When Diabetic Neuropathy Leads to Amputation”. Very Well. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.verywell.com/when-diabetic-neuropathy-leads-to-amputation-1087601
“When Treatment Becomes Trauma: Defining, Preventing, and Transforming Medical Trauma”. American Counseling Association.  Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/vistas/when-treatment-becomes-trauma-defining-preventing-.pdf
“Relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and type 2 diabetes in a population-based cross-sectional study with 2970 participants.” NCBI. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23497837
“The Psychological Impact of Diabetic Limb Problems”.  Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://iiumedic.net/imjm/v1/download/Volume%2014%20No%202/review_article/Pages-from-IMJM-Dec-2015-Final-V1-p03-07.pdf
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)”. Healthline. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder