Mood Swings and Depression After a Stroke

Mood Swings and Depression After a Stroke

After a stroke, a patient may feel sudden or extreme emotions. Sadness and depression are common. These feelings may be due to damage in the brain. Or they may be a response to the person’s awareness of what has happened.

Coping with Mood Swings82589_1

One common effect of stroke is lability. This problem makes people less able to control their emotions. Lability may cause a sudden mood shift that is out of context with what is going on. A patient may suddenly cry or laugh.

You Can Help

  • Stay calm. Accept the behavior and go on with what you were doing.

  • If the patient apologizes, acknowledge the behavior as a result of the stroke.

  • Do not criticize.

Dealing with Depression

A person may feel depressed after having a stroke. This may be due to brain damage. Changes in body image and grieving for lost skills, such as speech or freedom of movement, may also cause depression.

You Can Help

  • Ask the doctor whether medication can help reduce the depression.

  • Keep the person active. Play games, watch TV, or listen to music together.

  • Ask friends to visit if the person is willing to see them.

  • Do not discount depression by telling the patient to “cheer up.”