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Stroke victims often suffer from depression

Stroke victims often suffer from depression


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Doctors explain the emotional effects of a stroke

A stroke is unfortunately widespread in today's society. In Germany alone, around 270,000 people suffer such a stroke each year. The negative physical effects of a stroke are now well known, but very few people know about the mental damage that can result from a stroke.

Experts refer to the negative mental impact (depression) of a stroke as what is known as post-stroke depression (PSD). In a press release on World Stroke Day 2017, scientists from the German Stroke Aid Foundation now point out that depression after a stroke should be treated because it jeopardizes the success of rehabilitation.

Women are more likely to suffer from depression after a stroke

The physicians estimate that at least a third of all patients suffer from depression after a stroke. Women are generally more susceptible to such a depression. In addition, such a disease seems to affect older people more often. If the patients do not have good social ties, whether in the family or in a social network, they are at greater risk, the experts add.

Rehabilitation after a stroke is very hard work

So-called neurological rehabilitation is really hard work for many sufferers, especially if the effects of the stroke were very severe, the doctors explain. If, for example, one leg is paralyzed and the affected person can no longer walk, it takes a lot of discipline, training and patience to make that leg functional again. If those affected do not have a minimum level of self-motivation and firmly believe in themselves, rehabilitation will be made considerably more difficult.

Depression robs those affected of a successful rehabilitation

Depression prevents the important self-motivation and positive belief in a cure. Depression deprives people of their drive and causes them to no longer seriously carry out therapies, the authors say. Such an observation has already been scientifically proven by various doctors and therapists.

Positive effects of antidepressants after a stroke

In the so-called FLAME study, various stroke patients were given an antidepressant at an early stage. The medication resulted in these people not only less likely to develop depression, but also to recover better and regain more motor skills compared to those in the study who had not taken an antidepressant.

A stroke can change your personality

The so-called Post Stroke Depression (PSD) is also referred to by experts as a reactive depression. This arises as a reaction to a stroke. The reactive depression is, so to speak, the grief over the loss of skills that have been lost due to the stroke, the scientists explain. The loss ultimately drives the patient into a kind of complete hopelessness. In addition, a stroke is an injury in the brain, which alone can often lead to changes in the personality of those affected.

Organically induced changes in nature contribute to depression

Clinical observations have already shown that patients who have had a stroke become depressed more often than orthopedic patients. This impact continues if the physical disability that occurs is comparable. So grief is not necessarily necessary to develop depression, the doctors explain. "These are organic changes in nature," explains neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Hans-Peter Neunzig in the press release. "Many relatives find it very difficult to endure and deal with it," added the expert.

Relatives of the patients play a major role in recovery

The relatives of those affected play an important role in coping with the onset of depression. Depression after a stroke is not inevitable. Such a disease is curable, the experts claim. A combination of medication (antidepressants) and talks (psychotherapy) is required for successful treatment. Of course, professional help is required for the therapy, and the relatives of those affected also play a major role in success. Much more educational work is now needed to better inform the general public about the psychological consequences of a stroke, the researchers explain. (as)

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