Topic Overview

It is common for a person who has had a stroke to feel sad and become depressed about the disabilities caused by the stroke. Sometimes the injury to the brain from the stroke can cause depression. Depression is a serious condition that needs treatment.

People who are depressed may:

  • Feel negative, hopeless, or "down in the dumps."
  • Have a noticeable loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities.

People who are depressed may also:

  • Lose or gain weight.
  • Have decreased or increased appetite.
  • Have difficulty falling asleep or sleep too much. They usually feel tired all the time.
  • Feel worthless or guilty.
  • Be more irritable or angry.
  • Be unable to concentrate, remember, or make decisions as well as they did before the stroke.
  • Have recurring thoughts of death or suicide. If you or your loved one has warning signs of suicide, seek medical help right away.

People with depression may be reluctant to seek help, because they feel that it is a sign of personal weakness or a character flaw or that they should be able to "pull out of it" on their own. We now know that depression, like other medical conditions, has a chemical and biological basis. Treatment for depression is safe and usually effective even for severely depressed people.

It may be hard for you to recognize that you are depressed. If you think that you may be depressed, talk with your doctor. The sooner you know if you are depressed, the sooner you can get treatment. Treatment can help you feel better.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Towfighi A, et al. (2016). Poststroke depression: A scientific statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, published online December 8, 2016. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000113. Accessed April 5, 2017.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Current as ofJune 13, 2017