Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Antidepressants may help Stroke Patients

Logo of the United States National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.Image via Wikipedia

Each year more than 700,000 American’s suffer from a stroke, at least 1/3 third of these individuals will face a battle with depression within 2 years. In addition, these individuals may recover at a slower rate, often resulting in death. Researchers say this is due to the possible damage to the part of the brain that affects mod, add to this frustrations of relearning simple everyday tasks and living with impairment related to the stroke. Taking this into consideration, depression may not be such a surprise.

The answer? Antidepressants

In recent research funded by the NIMH, doctors have found that giving the antidepressant, Lexapro to stroke patients from the beginning may deter the onset of depression. According to the studies stoke patients are 4 to 5 time less likely to develop depression as opposed to those taking a placebo.

The study including 176 stroke patients that ranged in age from 50 – 90, these individuals were then divided into 3 groups – one being given Lexapro, the second given a placebo and the third engaged in therapy. The results showed that 9% of patients on Lexapro developed depression, a lower percentage when compared to 22% of those taking placebo and 12% of those who engaged in therapy. As with any discover, however, there is a downside. Side effects of the drug, as well as giving a drug to those who may no need it, may subject them to the added frustration of side effects.

If you are given the option what would you choose? Though the study included on stroke patients in 50 – 90 years old, would this new therapy be as beneficial in younger patients? It would seem to me that the younger the patient, or the more independent a person is, the greater chance of them facing depression; losing their independence, can be devastating.

I thank God for the doctors who continue to look for ways to offer a continued life of independence and comfort. You never know when these discoveries may affect you and your family.

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