Depression and stroke: All you need to know to deal with it

Are you suffering from post-stroke depression or is depression increasing the risk of stroke? Take note of these expert tips.
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What is the connection between depression and stroke? Depression can increase the risk of stroke, a new study suggests. It has also been found out that many stroke survivors experience thoughts of anger, anxiety, sorrow, fear and emotional turmoil in diverse degrees. Therefore, depression and stroke are interrelated and can affect a person’s well-being to a great extent.

Dr Kedar Tilwe, Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Health Care suggests ways to recognise the symptoms and deal with both depression and stroke before the effects are aggravated.

  • Approximately one-third of the patients suffering from stroke will experience symptoms of depression.
  • A co-relation has been found in the severity of depression and the area of the brain affected. The left sided lesion closer to the frontal pole is associated with a higher incidence.
  • It is also important to remember that a major area of morbidity post-stroke is the impairment in daily routine activities. Inability to return back to previous levels of functioning and dependency on others leads to further feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness.
  • Frequently, there is a feeling of guilt and being a burden over others.
  •  Often a stroke patient may have speech impairment leading to difficulties in communications; leading to irritability and frustration.
  • Symptoms of major post-stroke depression are the same as for general population: pervasive sadness of mood, decreased interest in daily activities, ideas of guilt, ideas of hopelessness and worthlessness, thoughts of self-harm, etc.
  • Supportive counselling, attending support group sessions with both patients and relatives helps. If required, psychotropic medications can also safely be started.
  • The presence of depression can have significant bearing on a person’s recovery. Seek help if in doubt.

Moreover, it has also been found that in comparison with depressed younger people, there is a dynamic increase in the somatic symptoms of adults and elderly people. Older adults mostly hide their feelings or suppress their distress and anxiety, blaming it on life’s experiences and tagging it as a normal consequence of aging.

Being aware and taking appropriate action before the symptoms of depression affect the cardiovascular system and increase stroke risk is a necessity in such cases.

 

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