And it may take time for a stroke survivor to adapt and cope with all the changes they are experiencing.
Feeling anxious, afraid, and depressed are common experiences for stroke survivors, especially in the year following a stroke.
Some stroke survivors even experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Stroke Survivors and PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event.
According to a study led by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center:
• Each year nearly 300,000 stroke survivors develop PTSD as a result of their health scares.
• One in four stroke survivors suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder within the first year.
• One in nine stroke survivors experience chronic PTSD more than a year later.
Support from family members and counseling with a mental health professional can help stroke survivors regain a sense of calm and normalcy in their lives after a stroke.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you believe a stroke survivor may be suffering from symptoms of PTSD after his or her stroke.
Reaching Out for Help
Let your stroke recovery team know if you suspect a stroke survivor may be suffering from PTSD or is experiencing bouts of depression or anxiety.
A doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help with depression or ease anxiety.
And a strong social network may be able to aid in a stroke survivor’s emotional recovery and guard against PTSD.
As a caregiver, encourage a stroke survivor to tell you how he or she is feeling each day.
Be sure to reach out to family and friends for emotional support. Visits and phone calls can make a big difference for caregivers and stroke survivors alike.
Joining a support group where a stroke survivor can share their feelings and experiences with others who are further along in their recoveries may also help to ease anxiety and lift a stroke survivor’s spirits.
Source: Posted by Lucy Lazarony of StrokeSmart