Though depression after stroke is common among survivors, it often goes unnoticed. It is seen that stroke rehabilitation commonly focuses on functional impairments after stroke, keeping psychological changes at bay.
That said, it is essential to know that specific changes in the brain after a stroke can hamper the recovery process and affect an individual’s quality of life. Depression increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. And, if it happens, the survivor might experience another stroke. As alarming as it may sound, there are always precautions and strategies that can help you treat depression in a stress-free and productive way.
What should you know?
An individual is more likely to encounter depression if he/she had a mental illness before the stroke. It is important to know that every stroke survivor might show different signs and duration of depression after stroke. Most symptoms appear between 3 and 6 months though. One can experience changes in his/her mood and personality which could be due to loneliness, less social interaction, and limitations in mental and physical ability after stroke.
If you are caring for a stroke survivor, you must watch out for the following signs:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of social interaction
- Increased irritability
- Loss of appetite
- Less interest in spending time with loved ones
Considering these signs, a caregiver must understand the emotional state of the stroke survivor at the time of sharing the diagnosis of depression.
What are your options?
Altercations in your lifestyle can help attack depression after stroke. Some antidepressants have been proven to treat depression. As long as you use these medicines under the physician’s consultation, they might help you improve your mood.
Seeing a therapist is a great way to share your dilemma and address post-stroke depression. These therapy sessions can be combined with medications for better results. One of the most sought-after therapies is the Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, which can help you identify negative feelings and thoughts and learn how to cope with them.
Yoga and Meditation can be effective ways to beat depression. Yoga reduces the stress and anxiety levels by inducing calm in an individual. To know how Yoga helps in prevention of another stroke, click here.
What else can you do?
You can also make the following changes to adopt a constructive approach to deal with depression after stroke.
- Socializing with your friends is a good place to start. It will make you feel that nothing has changed outside your body.
- Ease out your day by sharing your difficulties with other people dealing with depression after stroke. It can help you feel less isolated.
- A good diet can make you feel cheerful. There are certain foods (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) that can help you in stroke recovery as well.
- Exercising is another way to battle out stroke-led depression. With an appropriate exercise regime, you can minimize the episodes of sadness.