Do Strokes Increase the Risk of Depression?

How Strokes Can Cause Depression

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Depression following a stroke is a very common problem for seniors, but it often goes untreated. However, mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health, which is why post-stroke depression should be taken seriously. But do strokes directly cause depression? Read on to find out. 


Inability to Perform ADLs

About a third of people who have strokes experience depression weeks, months, or sometimes years afterward. Because strokes occur so suddenly, they can have life-changing effects that lead to depression, particularly in seniors who become disabled after having strokes. 

When people are unable to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) following strokes, they’re likely to develop depression because of their feelings of helplessness and dependency on others. Typically, the more an individual is limited by the effects of a stroke, the higher the risk of depression. 

Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the help they need. We provide high-quality in-home care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.


Sustained Brain Damage

Sometimes damage to the brain from a stroke can contribute to post-stroke depression as well. Some researchers believe brain circuits involved in depression are affected during a stroke, resulting in post-stroke depression. Many researchers also believe if the individual experienced depression before the stroke, he or she is more likely to experience it after the event. 


Gender Differences

Women are twice as likely as men to experience post-stroke depression. Some researchers believe women have a greater chance of depression because they have a higher rate of left hemisphere lesions in the brain. However, it hasn’t been proven that brain lesions after a stroke contribute to depression. 


Symptoms of Depression to Look For

Post-stroke depression can be very serious, but it’s often overlooked or undiagnosed. Caregivers and family members can be most helpful in identifying these symptoms and encouraging seniors to get treatment. 

Senior stroke survivors may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms associated with depression: 

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Diminished energy
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Persistent sad feelings
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Agitation or irritability 

Post-stroke depression can lead to additional health concerns. It’s important to remember that depression can happen at any time, even long after the stroke. If your loved one shows symptoms for longer than two weeks, have him or her evaluated by the doctor right away.

A home caregiver can help you closely monitor your loved one for signs of depression while recovering after a stroke. Families looking for top-rated Fremont home care providers can reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.


Treatment for Depression in Stroke Survivors

Several treatment options are available for aging adults who experience depression during and after stroke recovery. Some studies suggest seniors recovering from strokes may benefit from antidepressant medications. Additionally, medication combined with mental health treatments, such as counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy, may also be beneficial. Finally, secondary treatments, such as occupational and speech therapy, may relieve some of the stress and frustration that could exacerbate your loved one’s feelings of anxiety and depression.

Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Our live-in care Fremont professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. Reach out to us at Assisting Hands Home Care if you need compassionate professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.