During Stroke Awareness Week 4-9th Sept
This week is Stroke Awareness Week with this year’s campaign aiming to educate people on the “fast signs” of stroke, like blurred vision, loss of movement and drooping face. Knowing the signs and acting early is key to minimising the impact of stroke and improving rehabilitation outcomes.
With ample focus on repairing the physical impacts, as psychologists, we are naturally inclined to also ask how the person is coping emotionally and psychologically after suffering a stroke. Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety are common after stroke, not only because the condition affects aspects of brain functioning directly, but also due to the physical changes and personal challenges that may result.
Emotional recovery is a major part of the rehabilitation journey and some attention should be placed on the person’s emotional wellbeing. As well as changes in general mood, many stroke sufferers can feel traumatised or angered by the experience and live in fear of a second occurrence. Speaking with a mental health professional about your thoughts and feelings after stroke, may help alleviate stress and psycho-social symptoms whilst improving physical effects, like sleep that are integral to the recovery process.
Similar to the tools that are provided in physical therapy, stroke survivors can also be provided with a mental health tool kit filled with personalise strategies to help cope with the challenges that lie ahead. Although mood disorders and emotional strain are common after stroke, recovery is also very common, with psychotherapies like cognitive behavioural therapy having positive effects.
Like the late Napoleon Hill famously said; “The body will achieve what the mind believes”, and getting the right help to regain a positive perspective and the self- confidence to embrace life, is imperative to a holistic rehabilitation.
The Stroke Foundation offer a number of resources and support for the emotional and psychological recovery including Enable Me with useful advice and podcasts from a range of professionals.
For more information on our team of Clinical Psychologists and their areas of expertise visit www.psychologyconsultants.com.au/psychologists-2