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Fronto temporal stroke changed Mom's head

by Jennifer
(Canada)

Question: Mom had a massive frontotemporal stroke last week. She is on the stroke unit now but they have to restrain her because she gets really angry and tries to leave. Her best friend cried when she saw her and Mom said, "get yourself together!" I say I love you when I leave, and she says, "OK. See you." She has no impulse control. Sometimes she knows me sometimes she doesn't but she is not my Mom, the way she was. What can I expect in the short and long term? She had a stroke several years ago with weakness, and really worked to make it better, which she did. How will she work on this? How can I help her?


Answer: Having a stroke in this area of the brain will affect emotions, impulsivity, attention, motivation, executive function and more. If the Broca's area was affected, this can affect speech including the ability to come up with words and the tendency to speak in simple, short phrases and incomplete sentences. Usually behavior changes are involved and their can be depression. Just like physical issues can improve after stroke, emotional issues can improve as well. This is often dependent on the damaged area, amount of damage, a person's age, etc. No one can predict the amount of recovery that may occur. It will be important for family and caregivers to be patient and understand that emotional changes are due to the stroke and should not be taken personally. A neuropsychologist or neuropsychiatrist can be helpful with a patient's recovery. I know it is heartbreaking to see your mom's personality change, and you may want to seek a caregiver support group or even counseling yourself to help you cope. Hopefully with time, your mom's emotional and mental status will improve.

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