Stroke & Depression – Tips, Treatment, Causes, Symptoms

When a blood supply does not reach a part of brain, it results in stroke. This blockage of blood flow occurs either due to blood clot or bursting of blood vessel.

As brain regulates the activities of entire body, the brain stroke can result in impairment of essential body tasks.

Strokes may cause inability to perform daily tasks, speech problems, or paralysis in severe cases.

The effects of depression may be temporary or permanent in nature. Usually the patients get into depression after the stroke.

How stroke leads to depression?

Studies have revealed that stroke survivors get into depression after the stroke. In fact, many stroke patients are treated by psychiatrists for improving their depression symptoms.

The severity of depression after stroke depends on various factors including area of the brain suffered by stroke, family history of depression, and any depression symptoms that were existed before the stroke.

Stroke survivors may become more irritable and do not follow strict course of treatment. It tends to make them more depressed.

Risk factors of depression in stroke patients

  • Individuals who have High blood pressure
  • Individuals who are overweight
  • Older people who have heart disease

Symptoms of depression in patients with Stroke

Patients who suffer from stroke may experience various symptoms of depression.

  • Lack of self esteem
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tendency to eat more or loss of appetite
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Feeling of worthlessness, sad mood
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Difficulty in sleeping (too much sleep or too less sleep)
  • Lack of interest in enjoying tasks that were once pleasurable
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Suicidal tendency
  • Increasing intake of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco

Treatment of depression in patients with Stroke

Psychiatrists treat the depression in patients with stroke by employing combination of various therapies for obtaining the desired results.

Antidepressants medications take many weeks to show their results. Psychiatrists usually combine medications with other therapies such as Cognitive-behavioural therapy or ongoing talk therapy.

The dosage of these medications may be adjusted depending on the patient’s response for reducing the side effects and achieving the optimal results.

  • Medications like antidepressants and antipsychotic medications

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Serotonin and nor epinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy/ Psychotherapy/ or talk therapy
  • Physical exercise
  • Support from families/friends
  • Lifestyle changes including regular aerobic exercises that boost the patient’s mood
  • Medications for building new bones and stopping bone loss

Doctors may perform certain selected investigations in order to rule out other causes.

  • Blood tests for TSH and thyroxin levels for excluding hypothyroidism
  • Basic electrolytes and serum calcium for ruling out metabolic disturbances
  • Full blood count including ESR for ruling out a systemic infection
  •  Subjective cognitive complaints in older depressed people

Tips for coping up with depression

  • Develop circle of friends and social support
  • Treatment at the early occurrence of a problem
  • Learn ways of controlling stress
  • Increase your resilience
  • Aware of the causes or triggers of the disease
  • Learn various ways of boosting low self-esteem
  • Long-term maintenance treatment for preventing relapse of depression