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For those who have had strokes, you simply cannot overlook this one thing. Irrespective of your age, the part of the brain that was damaged, even having the best doctors, this symptom can be the most debilitating for stroke victims. What is it? Depression.
Stroke depression is probably the biggest challenge survivors of stroke have to deal with. Depression isn’t just simply feeling sad. Stroke survivors are not usually motivated to fight depression as they recover.
Individuals who suffer from depression after a stroke don’t recover as quickly. Seeing that 40% of stroke survivors have depression, knowing what to do about it is critical.
Ways to Reduce Stroke Depression
Minimizing depression from a stroke isn’t that difficult. Here are a few simple tools that give the victim motivation to recover and feel happy again.
Being outside in sunlight is critical especially early on, it can lift your spirits and make you feel good again. Light therapy is often used to treat depression. A minimum of 1/2 an hour is a good start; do much more if you can.
If the patient is still in hospital, get them outside on the hospital grounds or open the blinds to let sunlight in.
Simply smiling can make you feel better. When you smile endorphins are released in your brain and these are the hormones that give you that happy feeling. Can’t think about anything to smile about? Smile anyway.
Smiling leads to laughter and before long you have one big happy snowball effect. There must be something from your past you were happy about. Think about that, it will lift your spirits.
Take the focus off your stroke by having friends and family tell you about some good news. Find the happy parts of any situation. When you do this your brain chemistry changes and now you will be 180 degrees from depressed.
Depression Sets in after a Stroke
Begin by smiling for at least 5 minutes on many occasions throughout the day. If you are a family member or caregiver do anything to make the patient or love one smile. Even if they have facial paralysis or drooping, get them to smile anyhow. The other side cannot get better by frowning, but smiling will help.
Keep in mind that it will take time to overcome stroke depression, it will not happen in one day. These simple steps will help the patient to feel much better and you will help them keep depression at bay. This will also speed up the stroke recovery.
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