Surviving a stroke is something to be thankful for, but it can also cause the survivor to suffer from emotional and behavioural changes from the damage that the brain has suffered. When a person has a stroke, the brain goes without air for a period of time because of a blood clot in the brain. There are two main types of strokes called ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots in the brain which can be formed in the arteries of the brain or formed in other parts of the body and travel to the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain becomes weak and bursts open, leaking blood into the brain. Both types of strokes can leave the survivor with brain damage that can cause physical and behavioural changes which can be very difficult for them to deal with in the long run. We at Carefect Home Care Services understand how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath of a stroke and would like to share some tips to help make things easier.
Family members tend to be very relieved when their loved one survives a stroke, but after a short period of time, many family members feel that their loved one is like a stranger to them. This can be very difficult to deal with, nevertheless family members and family caregivers should try their best to help their loved one deal with the aftermath of having a stroke. It is very common for family caregivers to get frustrated or angry while trying to take care of their loved one that has had a stroke because of the changes in their behaviour, but they should not feel guilty about that as it is completely normal and can easily be worked through. To avoid frustration and anger, family caregivers should know what differences they can expect to see in their loved ones so that they will be more prepared to take care of them. In addition to being prepared, talking with other family members, friends, or even a therapist can make caring for someone who has had a stroke much easier.
Emotional Changes after Stroke
Emotional liability is very common in those that have had a stroke and can often be one of the most difficult things for family members to deal with. Emotional lability causes people to suffer from mood swings or uncontrollable emotions for no reason. Many stroke victims will laugh or cry uncontrollably even if it seems like there is no reason for it or that their actions do not fit the situation. This can be very confusing to family members because they often do not realize that this is an effect of the stroke, but knowing this ahead of time can make it easier to understand and deal with. Stroke victims also commonly fall victim to other mood changes as well such as depression, anxiety, irritability or apathy. Mood and emotion are all controlled by the brain, so damaging an area of the brain that controls these functions can cause drastic changes in mood. Depression and apathy are very similar in stroke victims because they both cause the person to lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy. Many stroke survivors who suffer from apathy or depression tend to begin to worry less about their appearance and view their surroundings with indifference. Anxiety and irritability are also common in stroke survivors because many stroke survivors feel edgy or restless and begin to become more impatient or annoyed with things that they used to enjoy or things that would not normally affect them. These symptoms can be a little more difficult to deal with, but not impossible. If you notice these changes in your loved one, medicine can be very helpful in dealing with mood changes, as well as visiting with a therapist or mental health professional.
Behavioral Changes after Stroke
When it comes to dealing with changed behaviour after a stroke, many family caregivers find this to be challenging because they find their loved one’s behaviour to be so different from their original personality. Many stroke victims become more impulsive after having a stroke even if they used to be very cautious and careful. This happens because the part of the brain that controls impulsivity is damaged, leaving them with less of a sense of caution. This can cause people to act without thinking things through which can be dangerous for them and the people around them. The best way for family caregivers to manage this behavior is to keep a close eye on their loved one. Many family caregivers find it necessary to take their loved one’s driving privileges away if they suffer from impulsivity to ensure that they will not harm themselves or others while driving. Self-centered behaviour is another common behavioural change which causes stroke survivors to focus more on themselves than others. This type of behavioural change is difficult to deal with because the person becomes concerned mainly with their own interests which can make them very demanding and hard to reason with. When dealing with self-centered behaviour it is important to remain calm and patient and try to discuss the behaviour changes with a doctor or support group for help.
Another common behavioural change for stroke victims is the loss of inhibition. Inhibition keeps people from doing or saying things that are socially inappropriate, but when a stroke damages the brain it can cause stroke victims to lose their sense of inhibition. Disinhibition can cause your loved one to constantly do things that are socially inappropriate such as telling very personal information about themselves to strangers or doing private things in public. The best way to deal with this is to quietly try to explain to them why their behaviour is inappropriate and ask them to stop. You might find that you have to remind them on more than one occasion, but eventually they might learn from your reminders what they should and should not discuss and/or do in public.
The last behavioural change to look for in stroke victims is aggression. Many victims of stroke become aggressive and start to lash out at people for little or no reason. Their aggression can be verbal or physical, but either way, it should be monitored carefully. If your loved one starts acting hostile or destructive, you should be careful around them so you do not get hurt. Many stroke victims stick to just yelling or swearing, but others will become more physical and hit or bite people. If this happens, you should make sure that you do not agitate them further and that you keep them away from any objects that they could use to hurt themselves or someone else with.
Knowing what to expect can often be the best way to prepare for providing care for a loved one. If you still feel like you need extra help, you can try asking friends or family for help or hire a homecare services like our services at Carefect Home Care Services to help assist you in caring for your loved one. Having extra help is a very good way to make sure that your loved one is safe while dealing with the emotional and behavioural effects of having a stroke.
Other blog posts related to this topic:
- Heart Healthy Eating after Heart Attack or Stroke
- How to Recognize the Signs and Risk Factors of a Stroke