Psychological Intervention For Stroke Survivors!

Psychological Intervention For Stroke Survivors!



By Dr. T Santhanam, Psychology

Stroke has an effect on the brain. Since it is the brain that controls human emotions and behavior, psychological problems may arise in stroke survivors. Emotional and behavioral changes are common among stroke survivors. People may suffer from anxiety, anger, depression, mood swings, and other emotional problems after stroke. However, this is not to say that such patients should be left in their psychological doldrums. Such patients do need psychological intervention.

In fact, the Department of Health initiated a programme called Accelerating Stroke Improvement so that stroke aftercare can be expedited. Stroke services have been nudged to achieve a national target of 40% in stroke survivors receiving psychological support. They have been asked to start taking psychological care of patients within 6 months of the event.

Psychological Fallout Of Stroke

Stroke is known to cause paralysis and weakness in a number of patients. In fact, there is a risk of loss of cognitive functions in almost all patients. About 75% of stroke survivors may have significant impairment of cognitive functions that include problems with attention, memory, perception, language, thoughts, organization of movement, mood disturbance, depression, and anxiety.

Psychological Intervention For Stroke Survivors

Psychological care for stroke survivors entails a multifaceted approach. It may involve different agencies and professions such as social care, healthcare, voluntary, etc. A multidisciplinary patient care approach is essential for optimizing psychological care for stroke survivors. In fact, such an approach can bring about significant improvement in the psychological condition of patients after stroke.

Guidelines issued by the Royal College of Physicians and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommend routine assessment of psychological conditions and mood management of stroke survivors.

Levels of Psychological Intervention For Stroke Survivors

The level of psychological intervention depends upon the extent of psychological doldrums faced by a patient.

  • Level 3: If the patient is suffering from severe and persistent psychological problems, he or she may require specialized intervention involving suicide risk assessment and pharmacological treatment. The intervention of clinical psychology, neuropsychology or psychiatry, as required by the case, is crucial to treating such stroke survivors.
  • Level 2: If the patient is suffering from moderate symptoms of the psychological fallout of strokes such as impaired cognition functions or mood interfering with rehabilitation, treatment can be given by any staff specialized in stroke care. However, patients need to be under the supervision of clinical psychologists or neuropsychologists.
  • Level 1: A minimum level of psychological complexity is common to almost every stroke survivor. Such complexities may include general difficulties in coping with daily activities, transitory or mild mood or cognitive disorder, etc. For such patients, stroke specialist staff and peer support can bring about good results.

Take Away

The service of Clinical Psychology experts is essential to address the problems of stroke survivors. Psychological intervention help stroke patients to recover from the emotional and mental trauma that they experienced after the attack.