Emotional changes after a stroke
This page has been written to help you understand the emotional changes you may have after a stroke.
Feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety and depression are common after a stroke. If you are having any of these feelings, it is important to understand that this is normal and we are here to support you. The feelings could be due to you trying to come to terms with the stroke. They may also be caused by the stroke’s effect on your brain, which controls emotions. You may also find it more difficult to control your emotions and find yourself crying or laughing for no reason.
While you are in the Stroke Rehab Unit, the staff are here to help and support you in being more independent after your stroke. This includes your emotional wellbeing along with your physical health, as both are equally important.
To make sure that we give you the best emotional support, we ask the patients who are able, to complete a questionnaire to find out about how they are feeling.
If, at any time, you feel you would like extra support with any emotional changes you are experiencing, please let staff know and this can be arranged.
Some things people find helpful
- Talking about what you are feeling with those around you, such as family members, carers, friends or the Stroke Rehab Unit staff.
- Joining a support group for people who have had a stroke - it can be good to talk to people who know how it feels.
- Remind yourself that changes in emotions and behaviour are normal.
- Be patient; do not push yourself to be ‘better’ too soon.
- Listen to music you enjoy or take some time to yourself when your emotions get too much.
- Rest when you are tired. Feeling tired is very common and people often feel worse when they are tired.
- You might want to keep a journal to record your feelings.
The future after a stroke
It is normal to feel worried about what the future may bring after having a stroke. The specialists may not be able to predict how long your recovery will take or how much better you can expect to get. This can lead to feelings of frustration and can be distressing and confusing. It can be helpful to focus on your progress. One day at a time can be a useful way to think.
When you leave the stroke unit, you may start to have - or still have - emotional changes and feelings of depression. If these feelings continue it is important to discuss this with your GP.
Stroke and your family
A stroke may also have an effect on the people around you such as carers, family and friends. They may feel concerned and have different ways of coping with their emotions.
Family members may feel worried or suffer with low mood. It may be helpful for your family to seek further support for themselves if they are struggling to cope with the changes in their lives.
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Gloucester, Gloucestershire GL1 3NN
Tel: 0300 422 5151
Cheltenham General Hospital, Sandford Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7AN
Tel: 0300 422 4475
Health Psychology Department
Tel: 0300 422 8523
Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm