Mental Health

Stroke Survivors More Likely to be Depressed?

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According to a recent study, stroke survivors are susceptible to serious cases of depression regardless of how severe of impairment they had to deal with following the stroke.

In order to come to their conclusions, researchers analyzed the information and cases of 367 stroke survivors. The average age of the survivors was 62 years old, and none of them experienced any serious language or thinking skill impairments following the stroke. Yet, 174 of the survivors were diagnosed with depression one month after their stroke.

To measure the level of independence of the subjects, researchers used a 0 to 5 scale – with 5 being the most in need of assistance, and 0 being the least. Nearly three months after their stroke, 20 percent of the patients ended up scoring 3 or higher in the analysis.

Stroke survivors who were older, had multiple health problems and were prone to depression found themselves far more dependent than those who were younger, didn’t have any other health problems and weren’t as depressed.

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"Post-stroke depression is a common problem. About 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year and one-third of survivors develop depression as a result," said study author Arlene Schmid.

"Even if the treatment and improvement of post-stroke depression does not directly influence recovery, it is extremely important for depression to be identified and treated since it is associated with other health and social problems."

This study appears in the March 15 issue of the journal Neurology.

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