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    Stroke: Changes in Emotions

    Stroke: Changes in Emotions

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    Topic Overview

    Emotional reactions after a stroke may be different from normal emotional reactions.

    • The reaction may have little or no obvious connection with what is happening around the person.
    • Often reactions can be easily interrupted by diverting the person's attention.

    People who have had a stroke-usually in the front part of the brain or in the brain stem-can lose emotional control and may switch from crying to laughing for no apparent reason.

    • Crying is the most frequent problem.
    • Medicine may be needed to help control emotional responses.

    Crying can also be a symptom of depression , which is a medical condition that often gets better with treatment. Untreated depression can interfere with recovery. And it can have a big impact on how much a person enjoys life.

    People who have had a stroke may act differently because they feel isolated and have vision problems. They may:

    • Become irritable, confused, or restless.
    • Sometimes have false beliefs (delusions).
    • Have hallucinations.

    This is more likely to occur when someone has to stay in bed for long periods of time. And it is more likely to be a problem at night. A radio playing softly in the bedroom or a dim light beside the bed may be helpful during the night.

    If you notice that your loved one has a sudden change in emotion or mental state, it may be delirium . For delirium, the person may need medical care.

    Related Information


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
    Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

    Current as ofJune 4, 2016

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