Clinical Depression In Stroke Victims

Shouldnt a stroke victim expect to be depressed? Yes, of course, but theres a rub. Just because it seems normal for a person who has just had a stroke to feel depressed, doctors sometimes dont treat the depression. However, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that brain injury during stroke may cause not only paralysis but depression as well and unless the depression is treated, it may not go away.

While doctors have long known that depressions, some lasting for many months, may follow brain injury, there has been little effort up to now to treat them. One reason is that its been taken for granted that disabilities as a result of a stroke would make anybody feel depressed Another reason is that there has been little direct neurological evidence to indicate some particular abnormality that could be corrected.

The researchers, however, discovered in a study of 103 men and women who had had a stroke, depressive troubles were significantly more common among the patients with a stroke in the left half of the brain. These patients also had a high likelihood of developing depression within the first two years after their stroke. Many such depressions are severe and may at times lead to suicide attempts, the researchers said.

Depressive symptoms may also appear in chronically ill patients who had strokes ten or more years ago, particularly with left-hemisphere brain injury.If someone in your family suffers a stroke and depressive symptoms develop, dont assume they will go away on their own. Bring the patient in to the doctor. Treatment is possible with anti-depressant drugs or other methods.Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Ten Days to Detox: How to Look and Feel a Decade Younger.See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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