Minnesota Stroke Association


Mild or major, depression is the most common emotional problem faced by stroke survivors. When the brain is injured from stroke, the survivor may not be able to feel positive emotions, which can lead to depression.

Depression can take hold right after a stroke, during rehabilitation, or after you go home. Depression is not a normal part of aging.

What are the signs of depression?

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyable, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of harming your body, death, or suicide.

If five or more of these symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, depression is most likely the cause. Do not hide these feelings/thoughts. Talk to someone before the effects increase. Treating depression will improve a stroke survivor's mood, as well as their physical, cognitive or intellectual recovery. At least 80 percent of people can be effectively treated and feel relief of their symptoms within a few weeks.

Every person's body and mind will react differently to the treatment options for depression. Different medications and/or talking to a licensed counselor or therapist are amongst the most common forms of treatment. It is also important to maintain a healthier diet and exercise regularly to improve a body's recovery. Talk to your doctor to discuss the best path for you during your recovery.