A stroke can change the way a person thinks, behaves and feels. You may not notice these changes as much as physical changes, but they can affect how well your loved one is able to manage.
Changes in thinking, feeling and behaving depend on:
- Type and severity of stroke
- Which area of the brain has been injured
- How recently the stroke happened
Thinking and Behaviour
Below are common changes to thinking and behaving you may see and how to help:
Changes in paying attention and concentrating
- Reduce distractions
- Talk slowly
Confusion or difficulty remembering information
- Write information down
- Keep a routine
Poor judgement or impulsivity
- Supervise tasks
- Encourage slowing down
Mismatch of feelings and outward show of emotions
- Check if they are feeling the emotion being expressed
Mood and Behaviour
Mood changes are a normal reaction to a major life change. Up to half of all people who have had a stroke will have some degree of depression.
- Lack of motivation or interest
- Anger, frustration or irritability
What You May See:
- Appetite and weight changes
- Headaches, chronic pain, digestive problems
- Feeling worthless
- Constant and overwhelming worry or fear
- Withdrawing from people/events
- Trouble sleeping
If you are concerned you or your loved one may be experiencing changes in mood, tell a health care professional right away. Treatment includes medication and counselling:
- Ask your doctor what medication is right for you
- Continue to talk to your care providers, friends and family about how you’re feeling
- Try to get proper rest and meals
- Trial deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques
- Explore local support groups and services. For more information on services in your area visit ontario.cmha.ca or www.marchofdimes.ca
Some stroke survivors have no change in the way they think, behave or feel, while others have significant change in one or more areas. Each survivor is unique.
It is important to remember you are not alone in how you feel.
As you begin your stroke recovery journey, you will have good days and bad days. However, with the proper support and treatment, together you can improve your recovery and life after a stroke.