Stroke and Mental Health

Though the effects of stroke are unpredictable, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and pseudo-bulbar affect (PBA) are equally common. Researchers are actively investigating if certain kinds of strokes or strokes in certain areas of the brain produce mood disorders. So far, studies suggest that simply having a stroke increases the risk of either anxiety or depression, or having both. Research indicates that PBA is more common in survivors of the brainstem stroke, but it can occur in strokes in other areas. Depression affects between one- and two-thirds of stroke survivors. It’s characterized by feelings of overarching sadness, lack of pleasure in activities that were before enjoyed, or changes in eating and sleeping patterns. On other hands, anxiety occurs when a survivor focuses on worries and concerns. “They go over them again and again in their minds but without necessarily reaching a conclusion.  Anxiety affects about 20 per cent of survivors.  PBA is characterized by a mismatch between feelings and expression – laughing at a funeral, crying at a joke. PBA hasn’t been investigated as much as depression or anxiety, but it’s not uncommon, impacting 28 to 52 per cent of stroke survivors, according to studies. Mood disorders significantly alter the lives of survivors and their families. Because crying or a lack of emotions characterize the disorders, it’s best to identify them accurately and receive treatment based on a psychological assessment. A mental health professional talks with the survivor to determine their internal state of mind and their behaviour.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy/Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Memory  problems

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