At our June Stroke Support Group we were joined by the lovely Michelle Jackson, a neuropsychologist. She led a discussion around her role in stroke rehabilitation. This is what she had to share:
“Neuropsychological rehabilitation is the ongoing treatment of those who have suffered a stroke, or any kind of neurological injury to the brain. The underlying premise of the treatment is that a mind that has been affected by neurological illness cannot and should not be regarded as a syndrome, but is first and foremost the mind of a person who, like all people, is invested in engaging in the world around them and with those they love and relate to. As such, it is artificial to regard symptoms separately from the personality of the patient and those needs closest to their heart – the same needs dear to every human heart. Damage to specific areas of the brain result in relatively predictable types of coping mechanisms, in exactly the same way as damage to those areas results in specific kinds of neurocognitive impairments – that is, problems with memory, language, spatial awareness, etc. In fact, the emotional, psychologically dynamic changes that accompany stroke appear, in a way, to exploit the cognitive changes, in characteristic ways, in order for the person to cope with such changes. However, such coping mechanisms are typically less than ideal as long term strategies for adjusting to the new reality post-stroke. Such coping mechanisms can range from outright denial of symptoms to debilitating depression, severely affecting the recovery and emotional lives of patients. The aim of this kind of rehabilitation is to explore the emotional life – the inner world – of the patient, examining ways in which the cognitive difficulties translate into the emotional, and how these can be better handled to maximise recovery and mental resources.”
In my practice I have found depression to be a common disorder following stroke and it is a complex one due to the damage that the brain has experienced. I highly recommend that you consult with your doctor if you feel that this is impacting on your recovery and consider speaking to a professional such as Michelle who is knowledgeable in this area.
Attending a support group is also a great comfort to those going through this. You are welcome to attend ours or to contact me for information on a stroke support network in your area.
Here is a helpful link on the topic:
If you would like more information from either myself or Michelle please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or Michelle on email@example.com