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Emotional Recovery from Stroke

My dad has recently (within the last week) had a mild stroke. He is only 48 and reasonably healthy so it came has a huge shock. The stroke was a clot to the left side of his brain. His memory has not been affected and his doctors are very impressed with the progress of his recovery in the short time since the stroke. They believe after all of his rehabilitation he should be back to 100% independance. The outlook is good in that respect even though at the moment its all still very saddening. My question however is about the emotional aspect the stroke has caused to him. The doctors have told us it is normal for him to be upset when he doesn't want to be and he becomes very upset when people visit, send flowers and even send their love and wishes. As my dad has never been one to show much emotion like this (I have never seen him cry) it is extremely hard as his youngest daughter to see him like that and not be able to do anything. I have heard that the swelling of the brain caused by the stroke is still there and doctors have said that once that swelling goes down things like uncontrollable emotion may begin to decrease. To me it is just hard to believe this is true at the moment and I hoped that somebody, maybe someone who has experienced this, could give me some ideas as to the long and short term of what to expect. I am so positive about his physical recovery I just need some perspective on the emotional side of this experience. I honestly have never been through anything as traumatic as this and you can never really understand how people go through this until it happens to you. My heart goes out to all the other families who experience this and maybe with prognosis not as good as it is for my dad. I thank anyone for their help.

Shari, 21, Aus
1 Responses
Avatar universal
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history of your father, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

Emotional and/or behavioral changes following a stroke is common. Depression may be seen in up to 20% of post stroke patients with another 20% meeting minor criteria for depression. It is difficult to say how long each patient will be affected by the psychological changes. It has been estimated that depression may last 9 months to 1 year if left untreated. The treatment options include SSRIs, TCAs, and possibly low doses of stimulants. (These agents will need to be used cautiously if blood pressure or cardiac risk factors are present).

Additionally, behavioral changes can occur as a result of the structural lesion/location caused by the stroke.

I would suggest that your father be seen by a psychiatrist or a stroke neurologist. He may need medication to help him through this phase of recovery.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

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