For some sicknesses the cure is particularly long and difficult, and sometimes,
when the obstacles overcome the mood, it is possible that the patient falls into a
depression. Nowadays, that terminology is abused considering a “depressive
state”, any type of psychological tiredness or sadness, but in all reality, the
depression is a quite precise clinical condition that could be grave and influence
in a determining manner over the necessary cures and therapies to overcome a
sickness. After a stroke the difficulties found in the achievement of the simplest
daily activities, the same that a day before could be achieved with extreme
easiness, the true depression caused by small failures in the therapy can make a
difference in 30 to 35% of the cases, delaying the rehabilitation process.
How does the depression appear after a stroke?
The specialists have identified 9 symptoms that characterize the depression:
lack of appetite, weight loss, disorders in the sleep, feeling of deep sadness,
thoughts about death, low self esteem, difficulty when concentrating, tiredness,
loss of interest on anything, anxiety or psychomotor slowness; if at least 5 of
these symptoms are contemporaneously and daily present in an individual then
you can talk about depression.
In case of a stroke, many of these symptoms can derive from cerebral injuries of
a sickness thus it makes it quite difficult for the Doctor Specialist to diagnose a
depression post stroke.
It is fundamental to do whatever possible to avoid the psychological fall of the
patient, since the lack of interest for things caused by the depression can block
the progression of the rehabilitation and it can be increased everyday by any
Unfortunately, another element which slows down the recovery of a patient, is
the lack of family support in the difficult road of the therapy.
What happens to the relatives of someone who has suffered a stroke?
The depression post stroke not only affects the patient, it also affects those who
are going to take care of him, i.e. the caregivers. The life of a relative completely
changes after a stroke on a relative; the family roles have to be redefined, new
rules are needed, in case of a family with children, a way to explain what
happened with the proper words has to be found, and the feeling of impotence,
deep sadness and worry can impede the achievement of all of this to happen,
thus the people close to the patient also suffer a depression.
To take care of someone who does not eat, speak, or understand can really be
exhausting and it is normal that mental processes where anger develops due to
the events and blame for not being able to do more take place; all of this (which
is normal in this type of event) just adds to the difficulty of rehabilitating the
patient, who needs a quiet atmosphere and a huge psychological support.
What to do then?
When you realize that you need help from a specialist, it is better not to hesitate
and quickly find a competent psychologist (or push a relative to do it) and trust
your Doctor if he was the one who suggested it.
It is important not to nullify your own life, rather keep your own interests and
get help from specialized institutions or friends in order to be able to relax the
mind and the body, getting away from places that inevitably are full of difficulties
and sadness. It is fundamental to realize that your own well being is essential for
the success of the therapy of the patient, and the more the atmosphere around
the patient is quiet and relaxed the fastest improvements can be seen thus
recovering confidence in the future and on who is at his side.
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