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Self help

9) Watch out for signs of depression

This is common after stroke and can be debilitating for the person or carer. At first both of you may be positive about being at home. It takes time to realise things are different. Sometimes depression occurs months after the stroke.The person may have been in hospital where they had support everyday from staff and other patients going through the same issues. After a stroke it can feel almost like a bereavement, grieving for the loss of their role before the stroke, they maybe disabled or have to stop work. At home either of you can feel isolated and tasks which were once easy for them are now much harder. Carer stress is common. Friends and family may not fully understand what effect the stroke has meant for them and you. If the person has a speech or communication problem it is even more important to get help if you feel they could be depressed because they cannot express their feelings as they did before. Depression is a treatable condition. Get help or advice if you notice any of the following in yourself or the person you care for-

  • Feeling sad or hopeless most of the time
  • Less interest or pleasure in normal activity
  • Change in sleep pattern, overtired or not sleeping
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain due to comfort eating
  • Feeling worthless/ helpless most of the time
  • Feelings of guilt that they are a burden to you and others
  • Difficulty making decisions and poor concentration
  • Frequent crying which is not caused by the stroke i.e not emotional lability.
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawing from contact with people
  • Thinking about death

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