Submissions from Readers

Complete Personality Change at Wit's end.

by Angie S.
(Michigan)

Question: My mom had a stroke in August 2013 it affected her right side. She has all her mobility back but tires easily, this is nothing new. On the other hand, she has become this other person mentally, not changing her clothes or showering for days. This is a person who could not stand to go 8 hours with out a shower. She is totally wrapped up in her self-pity and treats my dad terribly. That's putting it kindly. I have been telling her that she needs to stay active and keep moving so that she doesn't become immobile. She says she can't do anything and it's like she has given up on life. She is only 67 not 90! Her very dear and close friends call me and ask if she is okay noticing a total change in her personality... If we try to say something to her or get her to do something then she blows up and all progress is lost. I am a married mother of 2 and 2 step-children. My older brother is handicapped with Parkinson's disease in an assisted living home and I am so afraid my mom is going to put my dad in an early grave. Help me please. She has alienated everyone who cares!


Answer: It's hard to help someone when they don't feel as if they have a problem or don't want to be helped. If she is open to it, she could see a neuropsychologist who specializes in emotional issues after stroke. You could also post your question on a caregiver support group forum and see what other people have done in this situation that was helpful. Many people who have strokes want to maintain control of their own lives and may not respond well to being told what to do. Maybe you could include her in activities that would allow her to be more active without making it obvious that is what you are doing. Kids are a great way to help older people become more active (e.g. throwing a ball with the kids, going shopping with them, coming to watch their sporting events, etc.) If she doesn't have enough stamina to go out in the community then choose something easier at home. If the kids come up and ask her to do something, she may be more apt to say yes. I assume you have probably talked to her about her personality changes, but if you haven't, then sit down and have a heart to heart discussion when she is in a good/receptive mood. It doesn't have to be a long or accusing conversation. You can just let her know that her friends and you are worried because she seems more stressed/anxious and that you would like to help.

Comments for Complete Personality Change at Wit's end.

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Husband had 4 strokes
by: Tricia

I was 36 he was 39. Both our first marriage. He had a stroke 1 month after we were married. It affected his L side, cognition, and a little speech. He made a miraculous 90% recovery. From wheelchair to just having a brace on his L leg. This was 2005. In 2012 he suffered 3 more strokes. The L frontal lobe. He was in ICU for a week. He came home with a peg tube in the stomach. That is how he ate for little over a month. His whole demeanor has changed like from night to day. It is very Difficult to understand when he talks. The L side of his face is paralyzed. Little things will set him off. If the front door is opened a crack, he'll start telling. My daughter was folding laundry on the counter. The corner of a sheet was in the drawer he pushes the laundry on the floor and slams the drawer and broke it. He doesn't like noise or people laughing. Its like walking on egg shells. I ask him why do you get so angry? He says "I don't know!" It is really putting a strain on everything. He's not the same man that made me laugh. Now I just cry. I love him, but I don't like him.
Can anyone help?? Please and thank you.
Tricia

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feeling alone
by: Anonymous

I'm having a real hard time since the stroke. I don't have use of my left side, and I hate not being able to walk correctly. Sometimes I feel all alone. The only time I get out is to go to church. No one has the time for me.

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Ex-sister-in-law hallucinations and allegations
by: Anonymous

Hi,

I hope someone can help or confirm that what I think could be true.
My brother and his wife have been apart and now divorced for 3 or 4yrs now. She has previously had 3 strokes to our knowledge. On several occasions she has made allegations that ex boyfriends have abused her or stalked her.
Recently she has now made allegations that my brother has abused her physically, mentally, stalked her etc. I'm now wondering if these delusions are an effect from previous strokes? Has anyone in encountered this?!? Or similar.
Obviously it has become a very serious issue now and there is also a child that lives with her so not sure where to go from here.
Any help advice would be greatly appreciated!

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i'm fhs only one he doesnt want around
by: Anonymous

My very close friend and on and off boyfriend but always very close throughout had a heart attack and serious stroke. He is 59, a lawyer and comes from a big loving family. We not only worked together for years everyday but many months before his stroke and heart attack. He is making a relatively miraculous recovery to the point where is he is at a very good rehab and improving in his speech, still in a wheelchair. The other day was his birthday, and his family and close friends were there. When a few of us went to bring him upstairs they also kissed him goodbye, and when it was my turn he turned his face away. Every time I've seen him he has gotten irritable and angry even though we spent quality close time together especially in the months before this all happened. Now the family is saying I shouldn't visit anymore cause it is getting him upset. I had already made the decision not to visit anymore unless something changes. But I have to admit that I felt like a victim and feel like they suspect I did him wrong which I didn't and we were very close and he would never have acted this way to me. I've speculated what it all could be. In the hospital before rehab he even said go to your boyfriend the best he could speak. I don't want to upset him, his family or me and even if I wanted to visit I've been banned. What could make him act this way....the latest thought I had that maybe he is stuck in a place where he just feels comfortable with his immediate family and friends and is kind of stuck in the past yet certain memories about me irritate him....In any event, I feel like my best friend is gone and don't know why and it is killing me and feel like his family looks at me like I did something wrong to him to deserve this but didn't unless deep in side he wanted me to go way before...I don't know. Anyone else have this experience? I have googled this and can't find anyone stating they have experienced this and would love to know if anyone here has....

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Everyday's a different day
by: Anonymous

My husband, my best friend, my soulmate had a stroke 5 years ago and it's been very hard dealing with the fact that the man who put me on a pedestal for so many years not only doesn't seem to care anymore but almost seems to resent me entirely. I dealt with it and continue to try and help him with all his therapies and anything he needs even when he clearly doesn't want my help (even though he does need it). He had a right brain stroke which has left him paralyzed on the left side. He walks with a cane but has no use of his left arm. He also has moderate to severe cognitive issues. His processing speed and his attention span is severely affected and he has attempted and failed to get his drivers license 3 times. I still keep helping him with eye therapy and cognitive classes because he is in severe denial as well. In the past year he started suffering from delusions. He thinks I'm cheating on him with a young man (we're both in our 60's) who he thinks I allow to use our home when we're not there, using his shower and his soaps. He thinks that I'm giving this man money for sex and that I keep him in another room while he sleeps. Anything he runs out of he blames on "the moron". He wants me to leave. I can't leave him, even though I want to because I'm so miserable, but he can't take care of himself what do I do?

Comment from stroke-rehab.com: If you haven't already or haven't done so since he started having delusions, I recommend visiting with his doctor regarding the delusions to see if any meds could help. I also would take him to a neuropsychologist or neuropsychiatrist who deals in emotional/cognitive issues of people who have experienced neurological injury. You definitely need some expert help in managing his behavior.

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mother had a massive stoke dec 12th 2015
by: Anonymous

i too am looking to educate myself as much as possible. my mother is 63yrs old. and for the first twelve days i was told that her brain was swelling to the point that it would shut her heart off. i was called twice to come in because they thought she was slipping away.
now she seems to be doing well and off life support. she has no control over her her left side from head to toe. but she seems to still be herself! she can make hand signals and nod her head.
i understand that some people can get help in their homes and im very interested in finding out as much as possible. my goal is to get her home but she will need full time care.

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About Stroke Victims
by: Anonymous

I understand your feelings as I am going through a similar situation. It was like reading about my own life. It is an extremely painful situation. However, I feel it may be very painful for him too in some way that I may not be understanding. I wake up and go through the day with a heavy heart dreading the evenings when things go really, really bad. I also understand that there is no one else who can take care of him the way I can. Keep heart for the love does exist, somewhere, deep within. It's just that the absurdities at the physical level have affected it in this way but at the soul level everything is just the same. Look for the little signs of love and I'm sure you'll find them.
All the best. Keep going for that's the only way forward :)

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About stroke victims
by: Anonymous

My Husband of 31+ years had a stroke almost 4 months ago. He became the complete opposite of how he was prior to the stroke. He has no love or feelings for me or anything that he oce cared dearly about. It is so upsetting and hurtful. Can anyone offer any sound advice or help to try to overcome this scenario? It is soul destroying for you as the wife and soulmate. How can someone change in the blink of an eye and care nothing about you anymore? Does this feeling ever come back? How do you even begin to accept that the person you care for and love can treat you with such disrespect and shut you out of their lives?

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My Heart breaks for you
by: Grayson

After reading your story about your mild stroke and your son's repulsive behavior and attitude, my heart breaks for you. I became my Father's Power of Attorney about 8 years prior to his passing. I made a continuous decision to give him as much free will as possible of within safety guidelines. Ma'am, with all due respect you should ask a good friend or someone you completely trust to help you set guidelines with your son. He's completely out of Control.
As bad as it may hurt, consider cutting his ass off for a while. He has crossed lines and boundaries with you that are incredibly horrifying.

I will be praying for you.
God Bless you Dear and if you ever want to talk or vent just contact me. We can always chat privately.
Best of Luck, God Bless,
Sincerely
-Mr. Burkhart

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Controlling Son and my Heart Broken.
by: Anonymous

I had a very mild stroke about 3 weeks ago. I was home alone when it happened. I knew it was likely a stroke because my mouth drooped slightly on the left side and my speech was slurred due to the loss of motor control of my mouth, I was not confused and my memory and all other cognitive function are intake so far as I can tell.

I did not call an ambulance because, having worked with elderly as a caregiver in my younger days it was understood that there was nothing to be done after the stroke (I was not aware of the new procedures for treating stroke today). There were other factors such as a lapse in my insurance and recent bad health care in a hospital situation that had me frightened to return to a hospital In retrospect I well understand how foolish my decision was, my son however has made it a case for me needing to be controlled.

Right after my stroke, I made peace with the lifestyle changes that I knew must occur. I went on a low sodium and low fat diet, quit smoking and quit working as hard as I was. I downloaded charts from the internet and have taken my blood pressure three times a day to aide my doctor in finding the right treatment for my hypertension. I stopped drinking coffee and exercise at least 20 minutes every day. I try to get enough rest but my sleep habits have changed so sometime I must sleep in in the morning to get enough rest. I have since seen a doctor who after examining my reflexes and testing my cognitive retention told me with my so present that i could drive a car, that is how mild my stroke was. My son and his wife however are not convinced, They heard the word "Stroke" and have now made up their minds that i am no longer able to make good decisions or care for myself. This is completely hogwash. I have been taking care of myself pretty darn well since the stroke. I eat right as I stated above and do all the things that is recommended. I take regular baths, no less than I used to, go shopping, visit friends and pursue the usual pursuits as I did prior to the stroke, even though I admit to being more easily fatigued and yes very emotional at times. This seems to be a common thread among stroke survivors. I know that this too shall eventually pass if I follow the steps I have already begun, on my own, toward a healthier lifestyle.

I understand that my son loves me and is concerned and I understand that it is normal for him to worry, but I have always been independent and strong and do not intend to fold up and turn into a basket case over this. I do not want to be treated like a child who needs a nanny to watch over them. I have demonstrated many times over that I am clear thinking and capable, my doctor seems to agree but of course he dismisses the doctor saying he did not think much of her and my daughter-in-law whom I have always adored just goes along with everything my son says like a parrot. That really hurts because I have secretly sympathised with her for putting up with my son and let her have my shoulder when she needed it.

Well it came down to this, just today, a few weeks from Christmas, we had a terrible fight in which he kept asking what I had on my salad and when I said pickled beats he became angry (I think because he thought I put dressing on my salad which I did not . He said "Mom don't you know there is lots of salt in pickled beats?!" I through up my hands , here we go I thought. MY doctor did not mention on my paperwork that I should go on a low salt diet only a low fat diet but it was my idea to cut down on salt. That is not enough for my son who is NOT a doctor, although oddly the day before he made me a sandwich using processed meat and processed cheese with mayonnaise on it! I was the one who pointed out that perhaps the sandwich had too much salt and fat content but that was his error so I guess OK by him. Anyway I told him I will not be micro-managed by someone who orders pizza delivered and has candy and cookies out where I must view them and abstain while I eat tasteless food. He became loud and mean to me I was so upset I was afraid for my health and asked , no begged him to stop yelling at me. I was crying so hard and was in distress but apparently he did not care, he brought up things from the past that I thought we had sorted out and put behind us and would not move his car from behind mine so I could leave my own house to escape the torment. Instead he stood in the driveway way of my beloved peaceful neighborhood and screamed to my neighbors what an awful person I was, he brought up things that you never want your neighbors to hear, true or not true. I have never sired my dirty laundry in public and I was mortified and frightened. Finally a friend came and picked me up so I could get out of there, my heart was pounding and I felt light-headed. The last thing my son told me was that I just lost any relationship with him and I would not be seeing my grandchildren anymore. OVER WHAT? Over wanting to retain my independence for a few more years? But this is not the first time he has done this, I did not get to see my granddaughter when she was born nor did I see her for the first year and a half of her life all because I did not phone him enough . My ex husband has never seen the new baby because of something he did that my son doesn't like and my daugher-in-laws parent were banned from seeing him until just recently. My son is like a dictator and it is destroying every relationship in his life and it is killing me ...literally
So please, do not assume the position of looking after someone who does not need nor want to be manged. We should still retain the dignity and purpose of our freedom for as long as possible.

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Truth
by: Anonymous

I had a stroke at 42. Lost use of my right arm. I know exactly how your Mother feels. I can't give you advice. It's a living hell. No amount of medication...therapy...or support helps. Period. Sorry. I was a strong independent woman. Now I live alone on permanent disability and can barely afford food by the end of the month. I pay bills and watch TV. That is my life. I lost desire for everything. Brain trauma makes you feel hopeless. Btw...I don't need advice from anyone. You don't have to live my life.

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wit's end
by: Anonymous


i'm praying for your situation as well as my brother.

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Everybody is different
by: Anonymous

Every body is different when it comes to stroke. I am blind with little memory, can't reading, can't read what I'm writing, and very little ability to want to live. I've been like this for 9.5 years. Things are getting better, but I had my stroke when I was 37 years old and I am now 48.

Having friends and family read and become very educated about that specific person is important to me. Guessing and listening to doctors can help but won't fix it I'm my opinion. It takes people who are willing to be in it for the long haul and that won't fix every thing. Every one around the person will have to become educated and willing to become a team to help this person if he/she had the kind of stroke that removes ones memory and ability to think.

This is just my opinion because I had a stroke that I was born with that nobody new about until I had a brain bleed at age 37. It took me 3 or 4 years until I could understand what people were telling me, to know that my kids names were, or who I was. It's now been 9 years, and I still don't know much and i think it will take another 90 or so years.

Please don't be angry at stroke people. If you are a family member, neighbor, friend, or what ever, please read as much as you can. I lost my family and children and every thing else because of it. I am lonely and afraid and want to day because there is no one who can help me. This is after 3 years of occupational, speech, physical, and psychological rehab.

I do believe that I am getting better as the years go by but I know I will never be what I was. Even though that's not important, It would be nice to know that I can be something. It will take time. Even that takes work to accomplish. It's important if someone can help stroke people to do that without the price tag.


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Confused
by: Anonymous

The man I live with as a room mate had a stroke. He is 68 an now needs everything thing done for him. He won't pay me. He is not broke, and he would pay someone else he doesn't know $40 to get him cigarettes. I don't get a dime. I pay for his food, three meals a day. What to do???

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Please help, my mum had a stroke 6 months ago...
by: Sophie

My mum suffered a stroke in February of this year, she's only 49, 48 at the time, and since the stroke she has changed in many ways. She doesn't smoke anymore - she has no memory of it! I feel like I'm talking to a child sometimes as she hardly eats anything now and trying to get her to eat is proving difficult. She started eating regularly but stopped about a week or so ago. When she was eating, her health improved as well as speech and memory. However, since she stopped, she's reverted back to terrible memory and speech and with this she gets frustrated with herself and then gets angry and takes it all out on me. As much as I love my mum and know it's difficult for her, I really wish she didn't take it out on me as I'm the one who has been with her thoughout her stroke and recovery. Also, no one else can see this happening, and for a 22 yr old like myself, it's a hell of a lot to deal with as well as stressful. Please if anyone has any tips to deal with this I'd be very grateful.

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Re: 53 year old stroke victim
by: J.R.

Being 53 post-stroke myself and living alone I wanted to offer my perspective. I strongly recommend he find a stroke support group. Here he will see survivors in all stages of recovery. There will be some who have made enormous recovery and those who are far worse off than him. The ones who are farther recovered will give him hope that he can do that also. To the ones worse off he can be the example that recovery is possible for them too. It may also remind him of where he was not too long ago reinvigorating his drive for complete recovery. He may also wish to consider doing some sort of volunteer work giving him a source of purpose. Either way stop with the "victim" mentality. Calling him a victim or treating him like one will not build his self esteem. I didn't think that a support group, psychologist, or meds would help me. But, my drive to recover overrode those feelings allowing me to try and know now it was the right choice for me. I hope this is helpful and that he gets the help he needs!

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Re: "Stroke Victim"
by: J.R.

Having survived 2 Strokes 12yrs ago and being 53 myself. First, stop referring to your husband as a victim! Stroke Survivor is a much better term. Then, take the focus off of yourself and how his inability to show you the affection you think you deserve. Put the focus back on him and helping him recover. His brain has been damaged and things have changed. If you need help coping with these changes then I suggest that you seek couples therapy from a psychologist specializing in stroke recovery. And/or, at least find a caregiver's support group for yourself. At least attend all of his therapy so you have a better idea of what he is going through. Your husband is not the reason you're not getting the love you feel you deserve after 35yrs., The stroke is the cause. Either way, this is what has happened, accept that and then try to change it. I hope these suggestions are helpful and don't discourage you.

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53 year old stroke victim
by: Anonymous

Our son, 53 years old, suffered an ischemic stroke in early July. His right side was affected...droopy face, right hand won't work, and right leg is affected. After 5 days in hospital and 5 days in rehab, he is home. His face is fine, his hand is stronger but still can't write. His leg is stronger but his foot drags a little. I think he's fortunate but he wishes he had just died...doesn't want to live like this. He lived his way for a long time and look what it got him. He's over
weight, has high BP, smoked, has Type 2 diabetes (all uncontrolled at this time). It breaks my heart to hear him say his life is over or "I wish I had just died". His wife recently left him with his 17 year old daughter (who has been steadfast through all this). But I understand how he feels. He has no money coming in (only going out for his bills). How do I convince him that he can get well, if only he tries. I'm so scared for him.

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About Stroke Victims
by: Anonymous

My husband had a stroke 3 years ago. It seems he has changed so much. Does a stroke victim lose there emotional feelings towards people? He says he has no love or feelings for anyone. I am very hurt. He says he has no love for me his wife of 35 years or towards family members. The affection isn't there any more. I am very lonely and hurt. I just can't believe one day he has feelings for me and the next he doesn't.

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My mom had massive stroke August 14, 2014 and we have not seen her since October 4th 2014
by: Anonymous

My 71 year old mom had a massive stroke in August 2014. Though she never lost her ability to walk or talk, her memory comes and goes, she can't read, and things like cooking or writing she really can't do. October 4th, 2014, her 47 live in boyfriend got angry because my sister and I told him we needed to get POA over her so we could help her to legally take care of a lot of things she was frantically asking my sister and I to do for her when he's not around. He kept pressuring her about her credit card bills being paid. The last thong she needed to worry about was some credit card debt. For the past 5 years he has been trying to get my mother to buy a 2000 sq ft. home in her name since he has nothing including credit. So despite the fact she had a massive stroke, he's still trying to keep her credit together. He went off on me and my sister because we wanted to get POA and have her stop paying the CC bills. We have not been able to see my mother since that day of October 4, 2015. My mom started telling people we were trying to put her in a nursing home, which we would never do. I've been doing my mother's hair since 1977 every 2 weeks. We tried to pick her up 4 days after we saw her so I could do her hair. He said she couldn't come because she had a doctor appt. She told her sister that lives in another state she didn't come because we may try to talk her into signing a POA. All of this is coming from him. So he had convinced her that we will lock her up in a nursing home or something. He made it impossible for us to visit my mom by not answering the door, phone or simply take her away from her house all day. I went over my mom's with my husband about 2 weeks later and her boyfriend was working in the yard. He went off on me in front of my husband and wouldn't let us go in. My husband convinced me to just leave because he was getting angry and didn't want to catch a case for hurting him. We called Adult Protective services. They went over the first time when she was alone. My mom told them we didn't want to be bothered with her and we never come see her. We were shocked that my mom would say that. Since that time, they live somewhere else because my mother said she doesn't feel safe in her own home, but they still pay rent for my mom's house. She calls the Adult Protective services the Police. So when she called my brother and I, she cussed us out and said were trying to put her in jail. So I guess this is what her boyfriend is allowing her to think. She told us to leave her alone and stay out of her business. She said she would never forgive us. She sounds angrier than I've ever heard. She did not allow us to even talk. Adult Protective Services went over there a second time. They met her boyfriend with her that time. They told me they didn't feel safe because her boyfriend was so mean and angry and so was my mom. They saw how my mother acted so different in front of him. Adult Protective services took a man with her for protection the 3rd time. But she could never catch them home again. Since then APS told me that my mom and her boyfriend could sue them for harassment since they do not want their services. I'm just lost and devastated. I've been on depression medicine and seen a therapist. I cry a lot. We don't get much support from family because the two of them tell people we just don't like her boyfriend. Out of sympathy and respect for her, most of them believe her. It's been 6 months now that we haven't seen her. Before he came into her life, our family has always been close. It's like we're grieving without a dead body. I'm looking for a support group or some type of help. I'm in Cleveland Ohio.

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Wits end
by: Anonymous

It sounds like your mother may be suffering severe depression as a result of the stroke. The loss of interest in self-care, lack of interest in maintaining friendships, lack of energy, and generalized self pity and crankiness can be-- and often are -- symptomatic of depression. When a stroke occurs, brain cells die. As a direct result, there is a cascade of chemical changes in the brain. Those changes cause depression. Talk to her primary care dr. and her neurologist about what medications may be available for her. I've been through this exact thing with my father-in-law and more recently with my husband. It won't help to talk to HER about depression. At this point, she will only be angered by it. Talk to her doctors -- soon.

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Mood Swings

Question: My mother had a stroke in 2010. Her right side was affected. With rehab, she has regained most mobility. Her personality has always been controlling, negative, critical and combative but she seems unbearably worse since her stroke. Outbursts come more often. She throws tantrums. She is in assisted living and hates it. She won't eat food that is offered in the dining room, take meds, let them do housekeeping or laundry. She is 88 and the last living of her friends, siblings and parents. She feels she has no one.

We 4 kids are at our wits end. Her doctor is having her tested by a geriatric psych. She is in such denial that anything is wrong with her. She says it's everyeone else. Her memory is above average for a stroke victim but her RAGE is more than we can take.

Is there anything we can show her that indicates a stroke can affect her personality and/or mood changes?

We are dealing with a Jekyl and Hyde

Answer: Stroke can definitely change personality and behavior. These changes may occur because of having a serious, frightening illness that changes one's living circumstances. Stroke victims who were previously independent may feel everyone else is trying to control them and their decisions.

Another reason that mood disorders or personality changes can occur is due to the brain damage caused by the stroke. This damage can cause irritability, mood swings, and loss of emotional control. Unfortunately, the stroke patient may be unaware of the effect they are having on family and caregivers. You can visit www.stroke-rehab.com/personality-changes.html for more information.

There is plenty of other information on the internet regarding stroke and mood changes or irritability. I suggest you do a search and print out some information that you could give to your mother. Of course, this will not change her behavior especially if it's a result of brain damage. My suggestions would be to have a neuropsychiatrist consult with your mom and to get her involved in some type of stroke survivor support group so she could relate to others who have been through the same thing. It would also be a good idea for your siblings and you to go to a support group and hear from other caregivers.
A stroke support group can really have a positive impact on both patients and caregivers.

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Caz
by: Anonymous

It's very sad reading the comments particularly the personality changes after a stroke. I had a stoke June 2013 a blood clot to the brain. I had drooping of the mouth on one side but luckily enough I thought I had got away with it quite well. Little did I know the full effects at the time. I suffer still with anxiety.
I have been married for 25 years and my easy going nature with my husband is not the same. Where as before I would be tolerable to his annoying things now I feel he does them on purpose with intention to make me mad. I don't trust him when he goes to work I believe he's cheating on me: I never was jealous; now I am. Some days I just cry and think a lot about everything your mind does not turn off. We fell out so much. We are living apart but see each other every night and 6 months has passed. I don't seem to think any different I still think he's cheating even though he said he will take a lie detector test. I have just started on depression tablets only 3 days into them. I have tried these before, but they didnt take away how I felt. I just want help to stop thinking he is deliberately hurting me with my lack of trust. It's caused the family to suffer. To me it's all very real. I just wish I could turn my brain off. I hate it. I feel I have hurt the most important people in my life, my family. I just want my old self back: happy, easygoing, love for life and trust in people. It's scary and lonely. I don't feel as yet there is enough knowledge about our brain to give people the answers required. Walking is good for me to help clear the mind. I am going to give my self 5 mins to go over things and not allow any longer each day the rest will be positive thoughts.

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Severe Stroke survivors wife
by: Anonymous

My husband suffered a severe stroke 7 months ago. 4 and a half months in stroke unit of local hospital and now in nursing home needing 24 hour care.
Globally aphasic, unable to speak, sign or communicate in any way other than an unreliable nod. Unable to understand that he could press a call bell. Unable to move himself as right side hemiplegic needing full body sling to transfer. Doubly incontinent needing 2 carers to carry out all personal care. Only able to swallow pureed food and thickened drinks.

I still feel guilty that I cannot care for him at home but visit twice daily. Sometimes he seems pleased to see me, other times he seems to avoid contact or looking at me. This is hard after over 40 years together.

I am coming to realize that these mood swings are not voluntary and after trying to find a reason for them (uncomfortable? Thirsty? hungry? Needs changing?) it is better to let the caregivers deal with the situation. It is early I know, but the prognosis has been extremely poor from the start but an obviously strong body keeps him going (he is 84 and has survived 2 serious cancers)

I go home to our home full of memories and weep.

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Life
by: Ralph Hitchins

i had a stroke 5 months ago, I was 90 in May.
It affected my right lower leg and very slight right arm. I can just move with the assistance of a Zimmer Frame and gradually improving, hope to assist my wife who has been
diagnosed as slight Parkinsons.
Without her I would not be here. We have been married for 66 years, where has the time gone?
What I wish to say is live for every minute, We do not feel old and still carry on as younger people, our brains are good and speech normal.To everyone, look on the bright side.

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Please help
by: Anonymous

Question: My spouse is 49 yrs old. Approximately 2004/05, he changed into a monster. was bright/compassionate/fun/
responsible and well groomed. Now, he is abusive both verbally &physically. He is unpredictable with no impulse control, he has no reasoning & is dangerous to live with. He has been abusing alcohol (self medicating)and has blackouts/passes out from it in public/home & urinates himself. I can't leave him at home alone too long. He misses showers for a few days, however, he works full time job. On 12/15 a CT brain scan found several old strokes. How do I get him in a facility? I love him /just cant take anymore.

Answer from stroke-rehab.com It's possible that strokes have affected his brain, but it's also possible that alcoholism has done the same thing. Many individuals with alcoholism and drug addiction exhibit these same qualities. Since he is able to hold down a job, I assume that he is functioning at a high enough cognitive functioning level that the choice to make changes or seek help is up to him. You can express your concerns to him regarding his actions and the possibility of strokes changing his behavior versus alcoholism (or both), but it really is up to him to seek treatment. You might ask him to see a neuropsychologist who works with individuals that have emotional/behavioral issues due to neurological causes such as stroke. He might be more willing to accept that he has some problems due to old strokes than to alcoholism. If he won't seek help, then I suggest that you see a counselor to help you cope and determine your best course of action.

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RE:Change in behaviour
by: Anonymous

Hi! My husband had a stroke 5 months ago, I try to help him where ever I can and am still working everyday. He's very rude to me at times, and I told him if he continues to carry on like this, I will not help him anymore. He gets therapy 3 times a week. His left side is not working. Do you think he needs counseling for this? Please let me know.Thank,Regards Sharon Austin.

Answer: You could have him consult with a neuropsychologist. The neuropsychologist deals with emotional issues and counseling related to neurological disorders such as stroke.

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Feeling sad
by: Anonymous

I feel a little better reading other people's comments. My husband had three strokes in September 2013. He used to be a very loving, caring man. Since his strokes I can't recognize him as the man I married. He wanted a puppy so I got him one (she is gorgeous), but he never has anything nice to say about her, giving all his love to our older dog, who by the way is a gorgeous dog too. I dropped a jar of jam on my foot over the weekend. I didn't make a sound for fear it would irritate him all he said was f------ sit down. I go shopping every day looking for things that will please him, but they never do! I feel like walking away but I wouldn't. I still love him.

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Now what?
by: Anonymous

I've been married to an alpha personality female for 30+ years. Whenever I am sick (flu, cold, etc.) she gets very aggressive and talks to me like a drill sergeant. In our time together, she's battled cancer, a broken leg and other maladies. When she is hurt and I'm the caregiver, things are different. When the tables are turned, I am "lazy, pitiful and weak."

I had a stroke in March 2015. I lost my job and cannot collect unemployment. The jobs I can get now in the hobbled condition pay 40% of what I was making. We are deep in debt, have a pending court case that will cost $20K and will probably lose everything and end up bankrupt. Mrs. Drill Sergeant leaves me lists of things to do everyday and all I want to do is die.

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My boyfriend- stroke
by: Anonymous

My new boyfriend just had a stroke. I have never been in this position in my life and I have no clue what to do. He's unconscious right now and he will need brain surgery. I'm worried that he won't remember me when he comes to. Any tips on what I need to do and if he'll remember who I am?

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My personal experience
by: Anonymous

RE: can't understand
by: tahir

I suffered a significant series of strokes in October of 2013. My short term memory was affected as well as my vision and speech. I was paralyzed on the right side and had a hard time functioning independently. It has taken me over a year to reach this point in my recovery but I realize that I still have a long way to go.

I know first hand what your mother is going through. For the first several months, I was not able to communicate clearly and it became very frustrating to try and convey to my loved ones what exactly was going on. Even though I could barely speak, my thoughts, or the voice in my head was crisp, articulate, clear and concise. My interruption was between thought and vocalization. The only way that I can describe it is feeling trapped inside my own mind. The easiest way to illustrate how it feels is to recommend that you view the music video for the song "One" by Metallica, or watch the 1971 film "Johnny Got His Gun" on which the music video is based. When you see the overwhelming sense of frustration and the feeling of hopeless isolation by the wounded soldier, you'll have a bit of understanding.

While I was recovering, I found it easier to communicate by typing words on my iPad. I couldn't hold a pencil or write legibly, but I could poke at the letters on the keyboard so the iPad gave me a tool to use and a sense of accomplishment when I was able to successfully communicate. It also helped later on in my recovery because people had a bad habit of trying to finish my sentences when I tried to communicate verbally. I know now that it was not intentional, but at the time it was perceived as pity and left me extremely frustrated.

I wish your mother the best of luck in her recovery and I hope my testimonial was helpful.



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New Brain Not So Good
by: Neville

I had a stroke some years back; in my late forties. I'm a new, not better person. My attention span is short, unless something bugs me. Then I hold on to the thought for a long
time. I'm irritable and irritating. I hold grudges like never before. My feelings are hurt easily. My self-esteem is very low and I often feel disrespected and touchy. I know this but can't stop it. This is all very different from
my old self. Be patient with us; we really can't
help it. Seriously. S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y ! ! !

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Mood Swing from Stroke
by: christine

I have a male friend age 65 years old recovered from stroke 2 years ago. His mood swing is unpredictable. He go around talking bad about his wife to friends that he knows or to strangers he meets. He gets agitated very fast and likes to make unnecessary comments about people. He doesn't give people a chance to talk. He is egotistic and likes to talk loudly in public.


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My mom had a stroke too
by: Anonymous

My mom had a stroke in August 2014. After a little over a month in the hospital and rehab she has moved in with me for care. My aunt has her while I am at work and I have her every minute I'm not at work. My mom cannot do anything without help. She is a shell of who she used to be and I am living with a stranger who loves to be the victim in every situation. She is mean and unreasonable, she has made every decision in her treatment and recovery impossible, for no apparent reason. All of a sudden my aunt is the good guy and I'm the bad guy, even though my aunt gets a break from her everyday and I do not. I love her, well I love who she was but I'm not sure how long I can last when she is so awful. I'm tired and heartbroken and doing everything I can to fix her. She could care less, just as long as her dinner is done on time. My aunt a Christian women who loves to act like a perfect human being could also care less that I am dying inside, but if I get stuck in traffic and pick her up 10 minutes late I get a very ungodly glare. I'm not sure how to put these pieces back together.

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my husband has changed considerably in his attitude towards me since his stroke two years ago
by: Anonymous

My husband does not show any signs of having problems to most people, but my family have recognized a change in him especially towards me. He does not realize how mean and cruel he is with his comments to me as he was such an easy going man etc with a very good sense of humor, but now it is so different. For instance, I bumped my head whilst putting the cats tray down which is placed under the stairs and I horribly banged my head as I was getting up. He called me stupid and stated he is fed up with me for not realizing I have to step away from the bowl before getting up. Since having this particular cat, he is jealous of me having any affection or doing anything with the cat.

He also cannot stand me going out, albeit it is to go to the church to do some charity work. I have asked him to come and help etc., but he just refuses. I have lots of friends and wonderful family members but he seems jealous of me seeing these too. I am at breaking point. Do I go out or stay in as I need space from him, he is different when talking to neighbors or friends who drop by or telephone us. but behind closed doors his behavior is appalling. He is manic about the cat in that he doesn't like me to feed him etc., and this is upsetting for me too as I have always had cats. But with regard to this one, my husband is so possessive. Not sure what to do any longer. I am losing weight, losing touch with my friends etc. and feel mostly upset.



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What On Earth Are We Going to Do Now?
by: Anonymous

My 49 year old son has a third brain tumor (the kind that keeps coming back). He suffered a stroke three months ago. He was paralyzed on the left side. His wife, her mother and I have taken turns staying with him. He recently was at a rehab hospital and had to leave due to Medicare requirements. He began to not comply with his rehab and also started squeezing the therapist' hand or wrist and his wife's. She learned how to transfer him in and out of the wheelchair and bed, etc. but he is very difficult and she can hardly do it. He is 200 lbs and not easy to "manhandle". He opens the car door while being driven to the doctor, etc. She does not want to put him in a nursing home but doesn't know what to do. Is there some other facility that would accommodate him? She is at her wit's end. They also have a little 11 year old girl and seeing all this is very traumatic for her.

Comment from www.stroke-rehab.com: Has she considered having a sitter come stay in the house with him during the day to help out with transporting him, transfers, exercises and self-care? She might be able to exchange something like room, board, and food to offset expenses if finances were an issue.

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What On Earth Are We Going to Do Now?
by: Anonymous

My 49 year old son has a third brain tumor (the kind that keeps coming back). He suffered a stroke three months ago. He was paralyzed on the left side. His wife, her mother and I have taken turns staying with him. He recently was at a rehab hospital and had to leave due to Medicare requirements. He began to not comply with his rehab and also started squeezing the therapist' hand or wrist and his wife's. She learned how to transfer him in and out of the wheelchair and bed, etc. but he is very difficult and she can hardly do it. He is 200 lbs and not easy to "manhandle". He opens the car door while being driven to the doctor, etc. She does not want to put him in a nursing home but doesn't know what to do. Is there some other facility that would accommodate him? She is at her wit's end. They also have a little 11 year old girl and seeing all this is very traumatic for her.

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56 year old Black female stroke victim
by: Anonymous

I had a brain bleed almost 2 years ago. I retained all of my cognitive abilities, memory, can talk, swallow, but have limited mobility; Although I am working on it with the help of a great supportive family. Yes, we have our ups and downs. I am In pain every moment and very emotional,but we keep trying to move forward, by the grace of God. Although the pain and tone are vicious, I try to deal with it.

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Sisters of stroke victim - Venting
by: Anonymous

I too just 2 weeks ago finally had it out with my older sister who had a stroke 5 years ago. She is paralyzed on left side, can walk with assist from cane. Left arm/hand atrophy. She has difficulty seeing from her left eye. She not only regained her speech, but she is still bilingual! She is very paranoid, and is taking on other people's childhood memories as her own. EX: Parents were never there, she was raised by well to do, snobby aunts. That's why we don't care about her. TRUTH: She was raised by parents, hardly saw snobby aunts because they lived in a different country!! As soon as she had stroke, my younger sister researched rehab facilities, and I researched Botox injections as a treatment. She called me all sorts of names and told me to go F-myself. I told I might someday, but was sad I could not tell her the same...as she already had done that with herself with her unhealthy behavior contributing to her stroke. But that's our fault too, according to her.

Soon after her stroke, our elderly father suddenly died, and our elderly mother who was never sick developed diabetes. The rest of us, especially those 15+ years younger than her got gray fast! LOL

One sibling admitted to sometimes asking herself if we made a mistake praying for her to wake up.

Just came from a family dinner, she did not show up. Oh well. No one even mentioned her.

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Its Been 1 month
by: JamieR

It's been 1 month after my mom's stroke and I'm feeling a little better about everything. She took some steps in therapy, trying to talk a little more (still just mumbles) and she can swallow water. She just looks so sad and i want everything to go back to normal. I'm 24 and just moved away from home two week before she had her stroke. I have my 18 year old brother to watch over now.

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Personality Change After Stroke
by: Anonymous

My husband recently had a stroke. He was in the hospital one week and transferred to a inpatient rehab center for 3 weeks. I have noticed a big change in his personality. He is so much more loving than before and so calm and extremely nice. This is so different from some of the other comments where I have read about the negative behaviors after a stroke. I have truly been blessed.

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Venting
by: Anonymous

On April 2, 2014 my mom suffered a stroke. Yesterday, May 27, 2014 her mood swings caused a huge family fight ... I am the youngest adult in my family tree, and my moms outburst caused me to call her an ungrateful b**** gather my things and leave my parents home to return to my home... My father stood there and absolutely said nothing... I put aside my own personal life to be by my mom's side since I had to take the lead role and be the strong one amongst my siblings...I need a support group for adult children of STROKE Victims....

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cant understant
by: tahir

My mama has been a stroke patient since 6 months ago. She can't talk. She wants to say something but I cant understand.

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Hanging in there
by: petey

I currently reside with a stroke victim, and I find a pattern to his outbursts. First, he's overly happy, then he will go into depressed mode, then within 24 hours he will have violent outbursts. I try not to agitate his situation. I notice he is aloof afterwards. Yes, it's a vicious cycle and hard to contend with. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, and a thick skin.
.

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you are the stranger
by: Carol day

I had a brain bleed and 2 strokes at one
time. I was in a coma for 14 days.
Yes, it changed my life and my emotions.
I didn't want anything to do with anyone. Noise was so loud that children playing
sounded like nails on a chalkboard.
My family members would talk to me,
and I cried for fear of rejection.
It's taken me years to trust myself.

I still forget what I'm doing.
I still talk to people and in the middle
completely forget about what we
saying. I can't be told to do more than one
thing, I'll forget what you told me to
do and sit down. Tell me your name, walk away come back, and I don't remember it.
Talk about something and ask me
what you said, I wouldn't know.
Great secret holder.
I can't remember anything before the
strokes. I lost my childhood and my
children's childhood.

I'm happy, my husband is very good
to me, and I live life one minute at
a time. I've survived this since 1999, and
all I can say is teach us like small
children and have patience with
us because you're the stranger
in our new world.

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Personality change after a stroke
by: Anonymous

Thanks for your comments about personality change after a stroke.
We three girls are having a dreadful time after mums stroke. She causes dreadful hurt and pain with her comments. So many times I have walked away just to come back a week later feeling so guilty.
This am another shocking assault of verbal assault over the phone. When is enough enough.

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Apathy and Depression After Stroke

by Deborah L
(Denver)

Question Since my mother has come home from the hospital she does not want to do anything, she does not want to change her clothes,take a shower,put shoes on, she just sits and does not say much...the dr told us that we need to give her books to read but she will not read them, when you ask her how she feels she always say fine whether she feels fine or not.

Answer: Two conditions that are not uncommon after stroke are apathy and depression. Apathy is characterized by indifference, lack of emotion, loss of interest in activities, lack of initiation, loss of motivation, and decreased participation in social activity. Depression may have some of the same symptoms but is also accompanied with a sad mood and hopelessness. Other symptoms that might be present with depression are self criticism, changes in sleep, changes in appetite, and suicidal ideation.

I recommend having your mother see a neuropsychiatrist who can help determine if she is experiencing one of the above conditions and the best course of treatment which can include medication in some cases. Some tips to help with apathy include:

1) Help your mother initiate a task but don't do the task for her (for example hand your mother a brush and tell her to brush her hair instead of brushing it for her)
2) Encourage her to do what she can.
3) Break large tasks down into smaller tasks (for example have her read a paragraph rather than trying to read a page or a book in one sitting)
4) Involve your mother in social activities that you know she enjoys (maybe visiting with friends/family, looking at old photos, playing with a grandchild, church, getting her hair done, listening to her genre of music)
5) Keep activites short in duration
6) Follow a schedule that will help her know what to expect - i.e. bath days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday
7) Make sure caregivers and other family members are on the same page and using the same strategies as well

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Stroke recovery

Question My mother had a left frontal lobe stroke Aug 2010 and she recovered very well except some problems with memory. Then about 2 weeks ago she had another stroke and while working on recovery she will have a day where her mind is clear and she can stand and even take a few steps then the next day she is completely confused and dead weight unable to do anything at all or even aware of where she is or who the people around her are. Then the very next day she is back to knowing things and doing things again. We have had this good day bad day every other day for just over two weeks. Is this something that will continue or is this what we can expect? After her first stroke we didn't have this everyday different. On the days when she is weak and confused she is also very mean. On her good days she is sweet and easy to care for.

Answer Some patients have post stroke delirium that will often improve with time. Other factors that could cause increased confusion could be having small strokes called TIAs, having an infection (such as a urinary tract infection), or medication that is being administered.

It's important to rule out what might be leading to the increased confusion. Watch out for urinary tract infections especially if there is an indwelling catheter. Symptoms would be cloudy or smelly urine or a complaint of burning during urination. Ask the MD if all bloodwork is normal and make sure there are no underlying infections.
Observe your mom after taking medications. If you notice an increase in confusion after medication, then notify the physician.

If all seems well in the areas noted above, then the confusion may simply be a result of the stroke. Only time will tell if the confusion will get better. Strokes that occur in the frontal lobe can cause confusion and changes in personality. Having a set schedule can help with confusion.

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i had a hemoragic stroke 14 mobths ago and 8 months ago i had seizures due to the damage in my brain
by: Anonymous

After I had a savere brain bleed after having a baby last year I just finished rehab, but I do have a tendency of getting on everyone's nerves. Get him some help , I believe he is past psychological help and should start psychiatric help. There are medications available that will help. He, as I have many times, has probably done something or seen something, but it was a dream. I didn't realize it at first but the better I got the more it was obvious to me. I was certain I knew things that others could not comprehend . Take him to his neurologist he will refer you to the right doctor. Good luck !!!

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Mental Issues After Stroke

by David
(New Jersey)

It has been 3.5 months since my father's stroke which was categorized as a mild stroke. He has been displaying the below behaviour, and I wonder if he needs some sort of mental therapy?

- He keeps insisting that he needs to pull his shorts and underwear up together, and that the underwear needs to be aligned straight.

- He told us to turn on the engine of the car so that aircon could cool it first. We did that, but just a minute later, he insisted to get in the car.

- We decided to leave the house at 4.30pm for a massage session. At 4pm, he put on his shoes and sit near the car porch. We told him it was still early, but he wouldn't listen. He kept wanting to "go now".

- He wants to go back to the company to do his work. A staff member prepared some documents categorized properly according to different company names sorted into separate envelopes. My father insisted to check and re-arrange according to the document's running number (like invoice number). We told him it is easier and logical to sort according to companies and that it had already been prepared properly. He didn't listen, insisted on emptying the envelopes, doing it his way and messed up everything.

- Once we were out and he wanted to look for a nail clipper to buy. He saw a pedicure shop and wanted to go in. I told him they don't sell nail clippers. He wanted to ask them if they knew where we could buy the nail clippers. We bought some after this. Days later, he wanted to buy another one because he wasn't satisfied with the new one.

We have been to 1 or 2 sessions with a doctor for a psychology assessment. Unfortunately, I did not get to go. But what I heard from my mother was that this doctor asked some very simple questions like, "How are you?" etc, and if my father could answer, he was deemed ok. My mum has stopped going for this because she saw no point and from this concluded that my father is ok.

Should we get a second opinion from somewhere else or am I worrying about unnecessary issues as it is only 3.5 months after the stroke? He can walk about at home and go for strolls, although he walks with a bit of limp for now.

Answer: Strokes can effect individuals in various ways. Though your father may physically be doing well, it sounds as if he has some cognitive deficits and could benefit from cognitive retraining. Cognitive retraining aims to improve a person's problem solving, memory, attention, organization, decision making, reasoning, and higher level thinking skills.

I suggest having your father's physician write a prescription for speech therapy. The speech therapist will help your father work on all the cognitive skills listed above. I suggest that you go with your father to the speech therapy evaluation and explain what has been happening (or you could send a letter with your mother). This would give a the therapist a better idea of which deficits are interfering with your father's daily life. Speech therapy is normally performed 2-3x/week and can be helpful with the issues you describe.

I don't know if your dad saw a psychologist or a neuropsychologist, but there is a difference. A neuropsychologist specializes in the study of brain-behavior relationship and addresses issues such as learning, memory, and cognition in individuals who have a neurologic injury or disease such as stroke. A clinical psychologist on the other hand treats behavior and emotional disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, etc. If you get your dad started with speech therapy, the therapist could most likely refer your dad to a neuropsychologist if needed or you could go ahead and schedule an appointment with a neuropsychologist in addition to a speech therapy evaluation.

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Mental Problems & Imagining Things after Stroke

by Marcel
(Jericho New York)

Question:My brother-in-law had a stroke about 2.5 years ago in 2009. It was a mild stroke and he had no real physical damage, but after the stroke, his whole personality changed and he became unengaging, sometimes seemed in a daze for hours, confused, mumbling his words, etc. He also seemed tired, dragging his feet when he walked.

Right after the stroke he started accusing his wife of having an affair. This is so ludicrous, but he really believes it and he is conjuring up scenarios of how and where this is happening. He says she disappears on the weekend and that's when it is happening. Meanwhile, she does her errands, goes food shopping, etc. Their grandkids come over most weekends. He seems to not remember this but says I have no idea what my sister is doing. This is insane and something is really wrong with him. He is in complete denial that any damage could have happened with his stroke. His doctors just asked him basic questions and they say he is fine. He has been saying he needs to get out of his financial mess and then he will have to get a divorce from my sister even though he still loves her because she is out chasing men.

This man was previously a happily married,self-employed businessman. In the business arena, he hasn't been able to put any deals together and he says he is all mixed up because of what my sister is doing to him as well as because of the economy.
Do many people start hallucinating or dreaming things up after a stroke? His neurologist said it could be due to normal aging of the brain since he is 69 yrs old.

There is too much detail to write but looking for some way to help him. Any help is appreciated. Thank you

Answer: Stroke most definitely can change a person's personality as well as cause psychological issues. I recommend that he see a neuropsychiatrist. A neuropsychiatrist specializes in addressing cognitive or behavior problems caused by neurological injury such as a stroke.

Maybe your sister can sit down with her husband and have a heart to heart talk letting him know that she is not having an affair and asking him to visit the neuropsychiatrist since issues like this can arise after stroke or tell him it is counseling for them. If he is not open to talking to her, maybe she can let his physician know about issues that her husband is having and see if the physician will refer him to a neuropsychiatrist during his next doctor appointment. She could also ask a close relative who her husband respects to try and convince him to go.

I do not agree that this is normal aging of the brain. There can be age-related dementia, but that is definitely not the norm for a 69 year old. If there are changes in the brain, whether it be from aging or neurological issue, they can be identified through imaging studies and even addressed medically in some cases.

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Stroke after 4 years and three months
by: Boss

May 2010 was the day when I had my stroke and did not know it until it was too late. I picked two of my daughters up after work from the babysitter and the school. During the time I drove I became confused but luckily I drove us home to the driveway. I was looking at the stick shift and didn't know what it was for, I thought the wiper was the stick shift and realized the wipers turning rapidly. My daughter kept asking if I was alright, but I failed to answer the whole time. I felt like I was in a pink colored bubble. Anyway, my main concern is my behavior. I am beginning to see how I treat to my wife and my daughters. My daughters tell me that I am angry and I don't smile at all. I try really hard to be normal, but I end up that same angry guy without knowing it. At times my mood is like a wave lined up to hit the shore, making that crashing tumbling noise. There is more to my problems, but I'm working on it. I'm wishing to change back to my old self.

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Impulse Control

by Ellen
(Jefferson)

Question: My brother’s stroke occurred 8 years ago. He is now 69. He did not have rehab following the stroke. He has impulse control problems(when in public places or other people’s homes, he picks up things and opens doors, drawers and cabinets), apathy about appearance, urinary and fecal incontinence. His speech was never affected but there is repetition of movement on his right side (specifically extending right arm behind him and squeezing his hand). He is quiet but will respond in conversation with wit and reason. He takes Zoloft and blood pressure meds, but his wife will not take him to a cardiologist or rehab therapist. He sees only their internist twice a year. There are balance problems due to being 75 pounds overweight, concentrated mostly in the gut area. Is there any course of treatment that might improve his quality of life? ellen@fashionrevival.com

Answer: My biggest question for you would be is your brother's wife willing to work with him at home on rehabilitation? From your submission, it sounds like she may not be open to doing rehab with your brother. Unfortunately, your brother has several issues going on, and I think he would benefit most from having evaluations by a physical therapist (for balance), occupational therapist(for daily care skills), and a speech therapist (for impulse control or cognitive issues) who could then assign him with home exercises to do if there is no interest in setting up continuous therapy sessions outside of the home. If you have a good relationship with your brother and wife, maybe you could encourage them to at least ask for therapy referrals from a physician and go for at least one appointment even if it's only to get home exercises. Maybe after going to one session, his wife might be open to having him attend more sessions. Otherwise, unless you are involved in the direct care of your brother, I don't know that there is much more that you can do.

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Behavior Problems and Stroke

by Jan
(Lakemont, GA)

Question: My Dad had a right side stroke 2 yrs. ago. He was doing pretty well until he started having seizures from the scar tissue (he didn't get medical help the day of the stroke for 10 hours). He has depression which is finally, after several meds, being treated with Lexapro which has helped a lot. He is very negative, worried about money (which is not a problem for him) and doesn't want to be with other people.

I have been his sole caregiver, and he has become agitated with me. He does not want to eat or take his meds even though he does. He was always a math wiz and now has difficulty dealing with paying bills, etc. I help him, but he feels like he has to pay the bill the day it comes or he panics. He's constantly worried about things that are months away from happening, like tax time.

Should I take these responsibilities away from him (I was trying to let him feel he's still able to take care of some things himself) or am I setting him up for feelings of failure? I need to hire help, but he has fought that idea, though he still wants to stay at home. I can't be there all the time and worry that he's alone too much. I don't know where to go from here. Do I insist on hiring help or leave him alone? He wants his life to be over, and I understand why he feels that way, but God was not ready for him yet. What can I do?

Answer: As a caregiver, finding the right balance between keeping your dad safe and allowing him to have dignity is difficult. Safety should always come first. Some things to ask yourself:

1) Is he safe at home alone all the time? If not, then you should hire someone to help.
2) Can he accurately pay his bills and manage his finances? If not, then you should take it over.

You should get a Durable Power of Attorney (one for health and one for financial) if your dad is agreeable and cognitively able to agree to this. Once a person has dementia or does not have the mental faculties to make decisions for themselves, you cannot get these legal documents signed but instead would have to go to court and try to obtain "guardianship" over the person. It would be much better to have those documents in place now in case your dad's health and cognitive abilities deteriorate later.

If you have to make changes, include your dad. Have him help in deciding on who to hire. If he doesn't like the idea of someone watching over him, maybe change it around to I am going to have someone come cook and clean for you (while at the same time, they are actually keeping an eye on him). If taking over the bills, let your dad know that you don't want the stress to affect his health and that you will take care of it.

I actually think if you can hire someone to help your dad that it may improve your relationship as he won't feel like you are there in his business all the time. One warning though - make sure you hire someone reputable with references you can check. There are many out there who will take advantage of the elderly, stealing from them or spending their money without the person's knowledge. Others can be verbally and physically abusive so do your homework before hiring someone to help.

If on the other hand, you feel your dad is safe at home by himself and has the mental faculties to pay his bills, then let him. You cannot control is attitude or negativity outside of making sure he has received medical attention for any personality disorders or depression. I would still look into a Durable Power of Attorney either way as this will be important as your dad ages.

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stroke recovery

by Lisa
(NY)

My husband had an MCA, with bleeding which they werent sure would have a shift- no one can give me hope or prognosis- i guess i am not looking for either but i want to know what is percentage level recovery for others that have had this- ie: 50% of people with this type of stroke gain 40% of their recovery back...

Answer Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to your question. The middle cerebral artery is the most common area of infarct, and each person is different in their recovery. You could look at various studies, but you will get varying information. The best solution for you is to talk to the physician who has seen the physical data on your husband and ask his opinion on the type of recovery to expect. He or she should be able to give you some idea of the severity of the stroke. Also, if the stroke is recent, your husband will need time to begin making gains. What you see during the first few weeks or months after stroke can and often does change drastically so don't make any determinations about prognosis until some time has passed. I suggest joining an online support group so that you can receive encouragement and hope from other's experiences.

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I don't like my husband since his stroke
by: Anonymous

My husband of three years had a stroke a year ago. He was very fortunate that it wasn't a severe stroke, however, he is a totally different person. He is now very introverted, suffers with severe apathy, drinks a lot, is diabetic and has high cholesterol and has total disregard for healthy eating or doing any exercise even though we have three dogs that need constant exercise. He shows me no affection whatsoever, and I think he actually dislikes me. He falls into a drunken slumber every night, and I leave him on the sofa. He is 60 and I am 53. Am I selfish to want something more of my life ? He doesn't want to go on holidays, and when we rented a cottage, I ended up doing everything, so no break for me, I can't trust him to do anything. Help! Is it awful of me to want more from my life ? Or to meet someone else ?

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My mum had a MCA stroke
by: Anonymous

My mum sufferd a MCA stroke 8 weeks ago while in the hospital with pneumonia. Mum has been declining in physio and speech and language. She was in the hospital for 3 weeks. Mum was very unsettled in the hospital. Mum can't communicate, has liquid diets, and lost use of her right arm and leg. It's heartbreaking for us all. We have not been able to understand what Mum is saying too us. She understands what we say & she recognizes her great grandchildren. Mum was rushed back into the hospital today because she was unresponsive. After a few hours in the hospital she came around and doctors couldn't find out why it happened. We are hoping Mum will walk and talk again. Can you please tell us if Mum has a chance.

Response from stroke-rehab.com She is still in the early stages of rehabilitation, and obviously she just had some other recent medical event so I think you should not give up hope and need to allow time to see more positive changes. If you are concerned about her current condition or worry that she is actually declining, then I encourage you to consult with her physician(s).

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DADDY'S HATRED TOWARDS ME
by: Anonymous

Question: My daddy has never treated me the same as he treated my brother. However since he had this stroke he seems to hate me. I try and go to see him and my mother at least once a week and I live in a different state than the home he is in. My brother comes when it is convenient for him and he treats him well. What can I do because he is unbearable almost every time I go to see him?

Answer: Have you talked about it with your mother to see if she has any insight as to why your father would treat you different? It sounds like you felt this way even before the stroke and that it's not necessary as a result of the stroke since he is amiable to your brother. Stroke can definitely change someone's emotions and make them angrier or more emotional. When this happens, some options are to have the stroke patient see a neuropsychiatrist or neuropsychologist to address issues, to see a MD regarding any medication needs or changes, and for caregivers to realize that the stroke has affected their loved one's personality and not to take it personally. It is okay to talk to your father and let him know how you feel. If you haven't talked to him about it, he may be unaware that you have these feelings. If you have a conversation with him and he doesn't seem to make changes then it may be due to his stroke and something that he can't control.

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online support group
by: leesa

Do you know of any stroke online support groups that I could join?

Leesa,

Click here for a list of support groups.


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Emotional Issues from a Stroke

by Beth Canton
(Thomasville, AL)

Question: My 48 yr old bro-in-law had a stroke during a heart valve replacement March 1, 2012. He has vision and speech problems as well as his right leg does not follow like his left does. He has all the clinical symptoms like talking all the time, hollers when he thinks someone is talking about him, poor eating habits, crying etc. He has not had any type of therapy except for a few sessions of speech. His wife cries as much as he does and they both keep saying that he is not getting any better. He is working but is always tired as well. I feel that they all need psychological counseling so they all know how to cope with the situation. How important or urgent is this at this time?

Answer: I would recommend seeing a neuropsychiatrist who has dealt with stroke patients. It definitely sounds like the family is not functioning well, and I believe a psych consult could be helpful. I would also advise to seek out support via a support group or through online support groups for both your brother-in-law and his wife. It is most likely difficult for them to listen to family memers who are not in the same situation. The advice that other stroke patients and caregivers can give them could be invaluable and may allow them to see that they need to seek help.

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Lack of motivation, inspiration and initiation

by Rose
(Ohio)

Question Hello, my name is Rose and I have been a caregiver for two years now. My husband is 42 and had a stroke during an emergency open heart surgery. We were told that he would never walk, talk, feed himself, etc. He does all of the above and I am so grateful that he has surpassed all of the doctors expectations. I believe there is more progress to be made. The issue being, his motivation and initiative. He has none. His left hemisphere is essentially gone. I am currently reading "The Brain That Changes Itself" and feeling very hopeful about neuroplasticity but am wondering what exercises will benefit the part of the brain that effects motivation and initiation. Or, do I need to have the attitude that this progress will be based solely on my desire, my motivation, my beliefs? Is that even possible? Thank you in advance for your response.

Answer: Hi Rose. This is indeed a tough question. I have found this to be a problem with many of my stroke patients. It seems to be especially true when they are at home with their caregivers. I found this great article that might be helpful, Finding Motivation After Stroke or Brain Damage. Just click on the link to read it. It basically talks about how motivating factors for each individual is different and gives some ideas for trying to motivate your loved one such as hobbies, work, and social relations. The article also discusses when depression or frontal lobe damage may be causing initiation problems. Hopefully, you will find it helpful. If you don't find that any of the tips work for your husband, you may want to have him visit a neuropsychiatrist and see if there are medications or counseling that might help.

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Short term memory

by Amy Walsh-Kuenneke
(Cincinnati, Ohio)

Question: My right brain stroke was more than 5 years ago. It seems that my memory and ability to "solve" problems have gotten worse as time goes by. Since my stroke I have not been able to hold a job for very long. I had a neuro psych evaluation earlier this year. The test showed "lack of effort" which I was told means depression. I have been seeing a psychiatrist who has diagnosed me with anxiety no depression. What do they mean by lack of effort. This is really driving me crazy. My medical bills have already drained my husband's 401k and retirement.

Answer: I would not be able to interpret what is meant by "lack of effort" without seeing test results. Stroke can have many effects on a person's emotional well being as well as the brain's processes. If you haven't already tried it in the past, I would contact your state's vocational rehabilitation department. I am not familiar with the process in Ohio, but when I did a quick online search, it gave me this website: http://ood.ohio.gov/. You can also contact the local Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation in Cincinnati. They might be able to help you locate a job more suited to your post-stroke needs.

I would try not to worry about labels/test results and focus more on coming up with solutions to help you gain functional employment (if you want to continue to work). This would include talking with your MD and determining if you need meds to help emotional conditions such as depression and working with vocational rehabilitation services to find work more suited to you. I would also suggest making sure you participate in regular exercise which can often help improve emotional conditions such as depression or apathy.

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Can a Stroke Patient Change Their Will?

by Lisa
(NC)


Question: Can a stroke patient change their will?

Answer: If the patient's mental capacity has not been affected or their mental capacity is such that the stroke patient understands the nature, scope and effect of the document, then yes, a stroke patient can change their will. If, however, their cognitive status has changed to the point where they are not capable of this understanding or are not mentally competent, then the will could not be changed by the person while in this condition (in the U.S. - I do not know in other countries).

It's also important to remember that when a person first has a stroke, he or she may be confused but later recover cognitively so it's possible that a person might not be able to make decisions regarding a will immediately after a stroke but then later be able as they recover. The best advice is to consult your attorney and be upfront about the stroke patient's mental/cognitive status. I personally would not have my loved one change a will immediately after a stroke especially if there were cognitive and mental/emotional changes. I would wait until my loved one stabilized in their recovery. Stroke can be overwhelming so what a person is feeling immediately after a stroke may change later, and cognitively, the person will most likely be much clearer after the healing process has taken place.

I encourage everyone to have a current will and living will in place because if you have a stroke and do not have a current will, it can become very complicated for family members, and your wishes may not be carried out.

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Recurring UTIs & confusion with a 75 yr. old, 6 year post stroke survivor.

by Rebecca
(Hoover, AL, USA)

Question: My 75 yr old Mom suffered a right side stroke 6 years ago. UTIs & confusion are increasing. What could be happening?

Answer: I'm not sure why your mother would be having more frequent UTIs, but I do know that UTIs can make elderly patients very confused. I can't tell you how many patients (especially females) I have seen come in that are totally disoriented and weak and the only thing wrong is that they have a UTI. I would definitely recommend getting the UTIs under control which may in turn help with the confusion. UTIs are more common in patients who have had a stroke. Make sure she is cleaning herself properly after bowel movements (front to back) to avoid having bacteria enter the urinary tract.

There are other factors that can cause confusion so obviously you should have a physician examine your mother when there is cognitive decline. Just be aware that UTIs can cause serious changes in mental status of the elderly, and make sure her MD checks for UTIs and treats them accordingly. You might want to have her visit a urologist to determine why she is having recurrent UTIs.

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Explaining to Stroke Patient That They Have Diabetes

Question: The stroke patient has aphasia and doesn't understand that he has diabetes. How can I explain?

Answer: Some strategies you can use to communicate with patients who have receptive aphasia are:

1. Speak slowly and clear.
2. Simplify your message and sentences - rephrase it to be more concise with simple phrases.
3. Use pictures to help explain what you are trying to say.
4. Use gestures, writing, or objects to help you communicate.
5. Minimize any distractions such as TV/Radio.
6. Confirm that they understand. Give them time to talk and don't speak for him/her.

In an attempt to explain diabetes, you might search online for simple ways to explain diabetes including videos, charts, or graphics that might help you. Sometimes aphasia can be so severe that explaining a medical condition may not be possible. You could also seek the help of a speech pathologist to help with communication strategies and explaining diabetes to the patient.

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emotional issues

Question: Ever since the stroke I feel like my emotions are gone. I don't cry or ever really feel happy, excited, etc.

When my parents died, there were no tears. When my son graduated, there were some tears of joy.

Is here any way to get back my emotions? Most survivors are crying all the time. i don't want that, but it's a bit embarrassing when you're at your parent's funeral with a blank stare on your face.

Answer: I suggest you visit with a neuropsychiatrist. Stroke can have the effect of making someone overly emotional, but there are many stroke patients who become less emotional and /or apathetic. Neuropsychiatrists will have experience in working with patients that have mood disorders due to neurological conditions and would be best suited to helping you.

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Emotions

by Eileen Lippold
(Pgh. Pa)

Question: I notice when we tell my mother somebody is sick or they have passed she don't seem to get emotional, In the past before she had a massive stroke 3 yrs. ago, she would get so emotional and cry. She is paralyzed on her right side. Does that mean she doesn't comprehend it?

Answer: If her cognition was affected or her ability to comprehend language is impaired (receptive aphasia), then it's possible she doesn't comprehend it. It could also be that a part of her brain that controls emotions has been effected. Stroke can change how people express emotions. Some people's emotions may become heightened and they get upset more and others may demonstrate muted emotions with very little reaction because of the area of the brain damaged.

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Anger and Lashing Out

Question: My mother in law recently had a stroke. She has been suffering from a major loss of mobility for some time due to other health issues not directly related to, but probably contributing to, this stroke. Most notably, she has a benign brain tumor and she is on P. Dialysis for kidney failure. Since the stroke, she has become very angry at my father-in-law. He might be the most patient person I know, he loves her deeply, and has been her 24 hour/care giver for several years. She has always been a bit irritable, but it has gotten worse since coming home from the hospital. She is accusing him of things that have not happened and she is unwilling to participate in any kind of physical therapy, stating that none of the doctors mentioned it, when they had in fact done just the opposite. We are very worried about this development. She is absolutely sure that everyone is wrong and she is right. Can you offer some advice on how best to deal with her? It is killing my father-in-law and my wife.

Answer: If your father-in-law has medical power of attorney, he could ask the MD to prescribe home health therapy. Once the therapist came out, he or she could let your mother-in-law know that the MD requested therapy and talk to her about why she needs it. Often stroke patients are more willing to cooperate with medical staff over their loved ones. If he doesn't have medical power of attorney, he could still take your mother-in-law to see the MD and see if the doctor would talk to her about therapy and possibly seeing a neuropsychologist to help her deal with her emotions.

If she is not willing to cooperate, there may not be a lot that can be done. I would suggest that the family give breaks to your father-in-law so that he can have some time away from caregiving each week. I would also suggest a stroke caregiver support group for him or if your mother-in-law is able, then a stroke support group that they both could attend would be nice. I would also suggest trying to find an activity that your mother-in-law could be involved in or have friends come and visit her so that she has a social outlet. It's important to note that stroke can affect one's personality/emotions so she may not have full control of her actions. It sounds like she has a very supportive husband that loves her, and I would encourage the family to support both of them in this trying time. You could also visit some of the online stroke support groups and pose your question as others in your position may have some good advice.

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Mental

by Marge
(Ocala FL)

Question: My husband, Bill, spent 3 days in the hospital for a stroke. He has recovered wonderfully physically. However, he does not want to visit with anyone or go to church. Out to eat seems to be the only social thing he wants to do. Is this normal? Do I push for more? Going to church by my self did not seem to work, especially since I do not drive very well. Thought this would work, but no. Any suggestions?

Answer: You might try to get him out to a stroke support group that has both patients and their caregivers. I think stroke patients enjoy talking to each other and often can provide encouragement and tips to each other. This is true for the caregivers as well. The stroke support groups seems to be well attended and enjoyed at our facility. You can find out more about stroke support groups by going to www.stroke-rehab.com/stroke-support-groups.html.

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Mental Issues

by Ralph
(Delaware)

Question: I am a 47 year old man who had a stroke in June 2014. I Have recovered and returned to work in August 2014, however, I am afraid of everything. I fear something else is going to go wrong. I worry that I will have another stroke, I worry about getting angioplasty, I worry about about my sleep apnea. Is this normal?

Answer: It is not unusual to be fearful after having a stroke or any life event that threatens one's life. I suspect that with time this fear will fade, but if it is interfering with your daily life, you could talk to a neuro-psychologist which is a specialist that is experienced at addressing psychological issues with those who have had neurological injury. You also might benefit from visiting online forums/support groups and talk to (or just read about) others who have gone through a similar experience. It has not been that long since you had your stroke, and you need to give yourself time to recover not only physically but emotionally. It is important to make lifestyle changes though to help prevent future strokes. These include maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritiously, not smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, monitoring your blood pressure/cholesterol and exercising.

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Mood swings for two weeks

by David W
(Running springs, CA)

Question: Two and a half years ago my wife of 36 had a bleed on the left side. While in the ER she had another one but much smaller on the right side. She is now paralyzed on her left side. It happened two weeks after she gave birth to our son. Today our son is 2 1/2 years old and our daughter is 5.

Having kids and dealing with a stroke victim is more of a challenge than I can handle! She can talk rather well and can get around somewhat. This is a blessing after reading other stories.
However, she has changed into a completely different person and the worst of it lasts about a week to a week and a half. She lays into me like I'm suddenly the enemy! She actually looks for things she can bring up just to pick at me. She is a cold person during this time of the month. She curses in front of the kids, is unfair with them, has little patience with the all of us. Yells at them, and is very unfair at times etc. She has even begun throwing things at our daughter as a punishment because she can't simply catch her when she is being naughty. She flicks our son In the face as a punishment instead of timeouts. She says this is her new method because timeouts don't seem to work! I'm just about done in and our kids shouldn't have to suffer for her being handicapped? What can I do to calm her down and prepare for her ugly part of the month that seems to always be on time?

Dave

Answer Though you didn't mention it, I wonder if her mood swings are corresponding with her monthly menstrual cycle. Hormones can wreak havoc on a woman during this time of the month and it may be magnified due to her stroke. You could try to have a heart to heart talk to her when she is not in one of these moods and see if she will consult with her doctor. There are various medicines to help with mood stabilization or depression. She could talk with her ob-gyn if the moods are occurring during or close to her menstrual cycle or she could also talk to a neuropsychiatrist who deals with mood and emotional disorders that are related to neurological injury such as stroke.

In your wife's defense, she may not be able to control her emotions as she did before the stroke and may not have insight into the fact that she is behaving differently. She will need a lot of support from those around her and you both may need extra help with the kids. I encourage you to try a caregiver support group that can help you deal with your emotions and let off a little steam. You might try parenting classes together which might help her realize that she is not handling the children in a healthy fashion.

I am a mother of three plus three stepkids, and I have to say that raising kids is trying on a marriage especially when children are young. It is not uncommon for the worst to come out in people when dealing with young children who can be exasperating, and it is especially hard when someone has gone through a stroke as is the case with your wife. I encourage you to find good supportive friends and family that can give you and your wife a break from the kids. This of course isn't advice about stroke but just advice for marriages in general (not my expertise but just an opinion from experience). You'd be surprise by how many husbands might describe their wives' mood swings as similar to your's but without the stroke. I know that I am grumpier and shorter tempered now than when I was younger, and I am not very pleasant to my kids when I have PMS. Good luck to you! You will have to put some effort into the situation to get the results you are looking for.

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My Dad, mind difficulties

by Sue
(Warwickshire)

Question: My dad (76)had three strokes the end of last year. The x-ray shows a triangle of damage. He thinks nothing is wrong with him. He cannot do processes, fixing things, closing things, turning things off.

His hygiene has become poor. My mum (76)asks him if he's had a bath and he just says yes to everything. When we check something, it's not done so I don't think he is having a bath. I was wondering if he has forgot how to mix the hot and cold water to the right temperature so he just doesn't bother.

He is a private man and won't even let Mum in the bathroom. I told Mum to do the bath for him to just get in and that he may not remember how to use the soap. It's worth a try.

Has this happened to other stroke victims?
How can I find out what the problem is if he can't tell me?

Answer: It might be beneficial to request home therapy and have an occupational therapist come out to evaluate what he can or cannot do for himself. The therapist could then pass the information on to you. I would pay attention to other general activities that he does. Can he feed himself? Is he shaving himself? If he can do these activities, then he can probably wash himself too. Sometimes patients have apraxia where they don't know how to use an item correctly or can't coordinate their arms to do the correct movement but think they are doing the right thing. Examples would be someone trying to brush their hair with a toothbrush, putting lotion on their hair, or holding the phone upside down when talking into it. If your dad has apraxia, this is a condition that would warrant treatment by a therapist (one experienced in working with apraxia). I would also suggest going to caregiver forums and asking others who are in similar circumstances what has worked for them.

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How to help with Dysphagia/No mobility

by Sandy
(New york)

Question: My father suffered a stroke back in February 2014. He was in a rehab facility for 4 months and is now home. However, since the stroke he has lost all mobility of his left side, slight impaired speech and developed dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and is on a pureed diet and thickened fluids. PT/Speech and OT all have given up on him both at the rehab center and now at home due to lack of progress. He only wants to be in bed, hardly wants to sit even on the bed. He is irritable and on most days his voice is less stronger. He has lost over 60 lbs since February and now he is anemic. With 24 hour aides and my daily visits still nothing motivates him and my biggest concern is he eats like a bird 3 or 4 bites of soups/pureed foods. I've done everything (protein shakes, veggie smoothies, pureeing foods from his past favorite restaurants etc). He says he's tired of mashed foods and wants his regular foods but that is not possible. I don't want to lose my dad but I feel like I'm losing this battle.

My question...How do I help if he's shutting down?

Answer: I would suggest that you consult with a neuro-psychiatrist or neuro-psychologist to help you figure out how to best deal with your father. These specialists are trained in working with psychological issues of patients that have neurological disorders. Even if your father can't go with you, I would suggest going for a consult on your own (you might have to do private pay since you would not actually be the patient). I also would encourage you to look online for a stroke support group or a caregiver website and pose your question as their are others that will have been in your position and may have some suggestions. You can find out more about stroke support groups and caregiver websites at http://www.stroke-rehab.com/stroke-support-groups.html and http://www.stroke-rehab.com/caregiver-assistance.html.

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Overt financial generosity after stroke

Question: Is it normal that stroke victims are over generous after a stroke?

3 months on after a frontal lobe mild stroke my mother leaps to pay for any item one suggests.

This is worrying because living independently she could easily be taken advantage by trades people.

Answer: The frontal lobe is involved in planning, organizing, and problem solving so yes her judgement could be affected. You should have a discussion with her about it. If she doesn't seem to respond, you can always look into legal options to see if there is anything you can do to protect her, but if she is high functioning, there may not be anything you can do.

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2 yr old stroke victim; Now i am 35

by Bill G
(Bordentown Nj)

Questiom: I had ACUTE INFANTILE HEMIPLEGIA OF THE LEFT HEMISPHERE when I was 2.

I have 95% functionality in my body. My right hand has very minimal fine motor control loss.

My question is about the growth of the brain. I always thought something was off. I am missing that long term drive and accomplishment. I felt that way all my life. My parents and sisters are very accomplished in what they do throughout out their life. But in my case I have never finished anything productive ever to further myself. I do not know if this is an excuse for my life or it has to do with the growth of my brain since the incident.. I have made radical decision through out. I am 35, I have been to 2 different college programs and I have started a third. I want to finish them but something is holding me back from doing so. I feel like there is a part of me that is not plugged in.
Does the brain alter its growth so it would be harder for me to function in life?

Answer: I don't know if your brain growth could be altered, but damage to certain areas of your brain could have had long term effect that affected your motivation, attention, personality, etc. Many people with traumatic brain injuries (including those from stroke) will have long term effects such as these.

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Personality Change

by Michele
(Phila, PA)

Question: My mother had a brain bleed a month ago which subsequently lead to two strokes. She still has symmetry and most of the dementia is cleared. She will at times ask me if I've seen my grandmother outside (she's been dead for about 10 years now).

The question I have is this....she just seems so disengaged. She answers your questions and will listen to you, but there's very little interaction. Is there a term for this? Is this common? I'm told a lot of recovery happens in the first couple of weeks. Will this be something that is permanent for the most part or can this be rehabilitated?

Thanks so much for any input!

Answer: She is still early in the recovery process at a month out so you may see quite a bit of change over the next few months. One term that might describe the behavior you are describing is apathy. Apathy presents as a lack of enthusiasm or interest. Characteristics may include being passive, lacking motivation, loss of one's usual expression, and indifference. Feelings may appear muted. Apathy can occur as a result of the brain damage and may or may not improve, but you will need to give it time as it is still early in the recovery process. Many times individuals with apathy will still participate when prompted to do so by others but will have a flat affect. Don't think of it as your mother not being engaged. It's more like her emotional response to situations has been diminished so even though she may actually be engaged, her emotions/behavioral response to the situation may not demonstrate it. There may be problems with initiation as well. If you know what area of her brain was damaged, you can read up on the effects and get a better idea of what is going on as certain parts of the brain control different aspects of our emotions and behavior.

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5 year stroke story
by: muscle shoals, alabama

What sad I saw the story of Michelle from Pennsylvania and that her mother had a stroke. I had a stroke due to a heart valve problem . It filled so much of head, they thought I would die. I didn't know my parents, siblings, my daughter, or even my husbands name. I could only point to him. I had no memory, but I could feel they were connected to me. I hated hospitals and was scared to death. They sent therapist that day. I didn't want to see anyone. They helped me my first year. I was depressed and so sad. The next year we moved closer to my parents who helped me. Then a seizure hit me. Always something. Living with my parents helped me so many ways. My husband gave me homework. I wrote names over and over - so many pages until I could say there names and it still helps me every day. Sometimes I can spell the words before I can say it. Its irritating to me, but I finally have a good attitude. I have curse words I never did before. I am working and praying every day. My numbers are horrible. I can't read very much and that is so important to me. What patience & love they have dealing with me. I will never be the same person, but I am better before my 5 year old stroke. Don't ever think it's too late for many of us. I pray for all of us.

Ps. My husbands helped me with our story.


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Mental Health & Aging After Stroke

by Loving Daughter
(Philadelphia, PA)

Question:I'm wondering if there have been any studies about mental health aging studies in a people who suffered a major stroke when they were young?

My mother had a major stroke when she was 23 years old (1983). She had completely lost the ability to do anything for herself and actually had recovered after about 5 years of therapy and actually was able to return to her job. But then with the advancement of computers in the 90's, she was no longer able to perform her job and went on disability. Since then, she is pretty much home all day and has isolated herself. I seem to be her only connection to the outside world.

Within the last 5 years, she started to hear voices. I would describe her as paranoid and unwilling to accept reality. I've tried to convince her she needs to see a doctor, but she has no faith in the medical community because they never could determine the cause of her stroke and over the years, have tried to tell her she is exaggerating her condition. (If you looked at my mom, she doesn't look like she had a stroke. She's is slim and strong, very pretty - People have often told me she looks like my sister, not my mother. But any sort of long conversation with my mom proves to be very frustrating for most people.)

She is now aged 55. She is convinced people are hacking her computer (a constant source of frustration for her and me since I'm her 'go to' for everything. She thought there were cameras in the house spying on her and ripped the house apart looking for said cameras. And her language is worse than ever. She cannot stay on topic; She throws random thoughts into a conversation; She will not listen when I say I am concerned. She is married but I think he is too close to the situation to see the truth that something is seriously wrong. I've also tried speaking with my grandmother (her mother) as well as her brothers, about my concerns but everyone just relates everything back to her stroke from '83. (She has also isolated herself from her family over the last few years and I think some are just tired of dealing with her mood swings and judgments she places on people.) While the stroke may be the initial cause of her deteriorating brain, I think she is showing signs of something else. I don't know if this is normal part of aging after suffering a major stroke or if there is something else taking a hold of her brain.

Either way, I'm in a pickle because she refuses help and everyone else explains it away from her '83 stroke.

Answer: It would not be uncommon after a brain injury to have problems with organizing information or learning new tasks which might be why your mother had problems when computers were introduced in her job. It would also not be abnormal to see deterioration in mental status because of fatigue or lack of sleep in someone who has experienced a stroke/brain injury. What would not be expected though is a noticeable decline in mental status years after the original stroke. The effects of a stroke would have occurred when she had it. Unless there are new changes that have occurred in her brain, you would not expect her to have new symptoms such as seeing things or paranoia. I personally think you should encourage her to see a neurologist to see if there have been any changes in her brain function. If she is unwilling to cooperate, then I would encourage you to enlist family support. Ask family members to take note of her different behavior and to take your observations seriously. Maybe as a family, you can talk her into seeing a MD.

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My father Had a Stroke
by: Anonymous

Hello, please help me out. My father had a stroke on 3rd June 2016. He is Just 64 but he has BP and Sugar issues. He was getting better after stroke treatment, but suddenly his heart rate dropped. We got him admitted then later he became very aggressive. He shouts he abuses. He was not like this prior to the stroke. He was a cool and calm person.

He walks easily, but sometimes he does not take food and tablets. He wants to go out of the house.
How do I tackle this?

We have hope that he will be alright. The doctor also told he will be alright but it will take time.

We all love our Dad A lot. We cant see him like this shouting abusing and not taking food.

Please help....

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PTSD
by: Anonymous

About 23% of survivors get PTSD post-stroke. Have your doctor evaluate her for that.According to an Australian study 33% of survivors develop dementia although a later study only found the percentage to be 20%. She has to see a doctor for proper evaluation.

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depression

by Jennifer
(Nj)

Question: What to do for my husbands depression post stroke after 1 yr . He takes cymbalta 2xs a day already . What else can he take and what else can I say to make him feel better / normal :(

Answer: As an occupational therapist, I don't treat depression so I would have to refer you to a different profession. I would have him consult with a neuropsychologist, and if he is not already, I would have him join a stroke support group. Being able to interact with other stroke survivors can allow for a release of emotions and provide some needed support/understanding that may help give him a boost. I can't say enough about support groups. It can be inspiring to see what others are capable of achieving after stroke. You want to make sure it is an interactive group where patients talk to each other (versus going and listening to a medical professional talk about stroke related topics).

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Depression
by: Anonymous

I had a stroke a year and a half ago and have lots of depression, I was very active, employed etc.. It is a big deal, we may look and "act" like are ok but we are not. I am only 50, I was 48, we are not able to do what we did. Support groups help but patience by our family/caregiver is crucial. Some days are good , some in a row not. Multitasking not so good. Please get as much info as possible, never knew how much people don't want to see. Naps are important.

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Lacking Determination

Question: It has been a year since my mom had her 2nd attack, and until now she is still unable to walk and talk. My mom has some other issues as well. She is not cooperating well with the therapist, and I feel that she is not determined to walk. Because of that, her therapist decided that instead of having a 3 times a week session it would be just once a week. It is an hour and a half for every session. My question is, is it still possible for my mom to be able to walk, and for her to be able to walk again, how many hours per week would you recommend considering that she's not cooperative and undetermined? Thank you for reading my story.

Answer: I can't really predict whether your mother will walk again especially since I've never seen or worked with her. Many stroke patients can learn to walk or at least take a few steps but not all. There is no set amount of hours that one must practice to learn to walk again, but obviously more practice at trying to stand and walk is more beneficial than less practice. With that said, however, a therapist cannot make someone work with them if the patient does not wish to participate.

If it can be done safely, I would encourage you to have the therapist train you or other caregivers on how to work on standing and or taking steps with your mom so that she can practice with caregivers on other days when the therapist is not there. Many caregivers can learn to assist patients with therapy if trained. Ask her therapist to do some training sessions with you - I'm sure the therapist would be more than happy to oblige. Even if it wasn't safe to stand, the therapist could show you other exercises/strengthening activities that your mom could do with your assistance.

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Spouse Treatment after Stroke.

by Diane

Question After having two ischemic strokes in 2013 and 2014, my husband of 51 years told me he know about the affair I was having because my vagina was so big he could put his fist in me. (Disgusting, I Know)/ I cannot believe he said this to me. I am heart broken knowing full well this affair has not happened ever- he said he has been thinking about it for a year. He can hardly remember meals he has eaten. Actually his attitude changed abut a week before my 70th birthday a week ago.

I have heard of dementia patients and very sick people accusing spouses of this but I am sickened that he said this to me. I can't stop crying. Is THIS SOMETHING that is normal for stroke victims? I don't know what to do. I know he isn't well but I don't know where this came from. (WE haven't had sex in probably 15 years) He was very heavy 317 for many years. He has had "sleeve" surgery 2 years ago Sept. He is now 165lbs. Memory a problem, slow movement because of diabetes. He has a man exercise him 4 hrs a week. He comes to work very seldom (we have a business).

I am trying to keep the business running, take care of his dad's estate since he died in 2014, take care of his messes when he has an accident, prepare food sometimes 3 times a day- An Affair - Really! I need some insight please.

Answer: Unfortunately, you never know what thought may develop in someone with dementia or someone who has had a brain injury such as a stroke, and sometimes they can fixate on these thoughts. I would just let it pass. He most likely will forget the accusation. I know it is very hurtful to you, but you must realize that this is an effect of the damage to his brain not who he truly is. If the accusation does not pass over time, you could try to enroll the help of a neuropsychologist. Even if they end up not being able to help/change him, they might be able to give you strategies/ideas on managing his behavior and help you understand that this is a symptom of disability/injury and not a true reflection of how he feels for you. I know it's tough , and it doesn't seem fair. It takes a lot of resilience and sometimes tough skin to be a caregiver of someone with dementia/brain injury.

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MENTAL ISSUES

by Janet
(Huntsville, Al)

Sis is 60 years old and had a stroke 6 weeks ago. She is mobile and has most normal body functions, but weak and slurs her speech and might use the word "quarter" as a "fill in the gap" word or thought. What she does not have is short term memory, or long term memory. She does not know her family and when she talks, we think it might be about events from 30 -40 years ago. She uses 5 or 6 words to make a sentence, but we don't know what she is talking about. Any suggestions on how to help her and us to "connect the dots"?

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by: Karen

Answer: Since her stroke was only 6 weeks ago, you may find that her memory will continue to improve some over the next few months spontaneously. To help improve this process, you might try showing her more recent photo albums or videos and telling her information about family members. You didn't mention if she has problem understanding what someone is telling her, but if she does then keep words simple and short to make them easier to understand.

Sometimes people can have expressive aphasia (it's difficult to say words or the words coming out don't make sense) and some have receptive aphasia (don't understand what their being told) or both. Obviously, if she only has expressive aphasia, it will be easier to educate her and help improve her memory. If she also has receptive aphasia, then the process will be more difficult. If she can read, you could also keep a board in her room with the date and maybe some other pertinent information (how old she is, her address, what city she lives in, names of family members, etc.)

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How to deal with Crying after a strike

by Carolyn Cooper
(Carson City)

Question: Is there something I can do to keep my mother who has had two strokes left side for crying all the time?

My mother has had two strokes in 5 years on the left side of her brain, I almost the same spot. The first stroke actually caused her to die and was revived at hospital. She recovered very well physically EXCEPT for her short term memory which is Totally gone.

She had her second stroke five years later, three weeks after my dad died; of which they had been married for 65 years.

This stroke was much more dibilitating needing rehabilitation to walk, talk, and basic skills. She Now needs full time care and hates it. I find her crying over events she would normally never cry over.

Is there something I can do to help her with the crying?

Answer: If the crying is excessive, I would recommend consulting with her MD as their may be medicines that can help decrease her propensity to cry.

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Cry
by: Anonymous

Give her a hug and don't give her time to think

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Not wanting to do his rehab/therapy

by Michelle
(Marysville WA)

Question: My father in law had 2 strokes in a few weeks starting in mid July. The 2nd one has his whole left side paralyzed. Both kids live out of state, we flew in & have gotten him settled in the nursing home of his choice in his home town (he will not move to either state), but the nurses are calling us because he is refusing to do his rehab. He was recently put on depression medication due to not wanting to get out of bed. If we can't get him to do any therapy he will never be able to go home-which he says he wants to. Any idea how to get him engaged to want to do the rehab?

Answer: Sometimes apathy or lack of interest in participating in therapy may be as a direct result of injury to specific portions of the brain. Facilities have to respect the wishes of their patients, but you also have to take into consideration their injury and if their behavior is a result of the injury. In this case, you have to sometimes be more creative in getting patients to participate. Without knowing how the facility is run that he is in, it's hard to say how to help. If therapists or nurses walk in and say let's go to therapy, and he says no, and they walk back out with little effort, then it may be more of a facility problem than a problem with your father-in-law. On the other hand, if you see they are trying different tactics and working hard to try to get him to participate, but he is obstinate, then that is a different problem. I would not rely on their report as far as their efforts to get him to participate but would rely more on your direct observations.

Since his family is in different states, this makes things more difficult, but I would say it would be in his best interest if a family member could be present for a week or two to see if they can help him overcome this issue (it does not have to be the same family member over the two weeks). Usually with coaxing from family and the facility knowing that the family expects them to have the patient participate, results can be made. I would also involve the help of a neuro psychologist or neuro psychiatrist as well. If family along with medical professionals are unable to get your father-in-law to participate, there may not be much you can do. It may be helpful to get him in a stroke support group too if they have one at the facility so he can interact with peers in the same situation.

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Emotions long after stroke?

by John Decker
(Orange County, CA)

Question: I had a stroke 4 years ago almost to the day. I am more emotional now than ever. It seems to be a good thing, but I find myself crying at the thought of how much I love my family, and it is weird. I am a 55 year old male who has always been tough. I wouldn't cry over anything. Now I am weeping just thinking of life's normal things. No dementia, fully recovered physically, I think. I work out every day, walk 2 miles a day and keep a full time job. What is up?

Answer: It is not uncommon for a stroke to affect one's emotions causing lability, crying spells, anger, or even indifference. Emotions are controlled by our brain as well as hormonal changes. Not only did you have a stroke, but you are also at an age where it is not uncommon to have changes in hormones. As a therapist, I do not know a lot about hormone changes and the natural aging process, but I do know it happens, and it might be something you want to investigate further to see if it is affecting you.

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