Skip to content

Stroke Health Center

Font Size

Stroke: Changes in Emotions - Topic Overview

Emotional reactions after a stroke may be different from normal emotional reactions.

  • The reaction may have little or no obvious connection with what is happening around the person.
  • Often reactions can be easily interrupted by diverting the person's attention.

People who have had a stroke—usually in the front part of the brain or in the brain stem—can lose emotional control and may switch from crying to laughing for no apparent reason.

Recommended Related to Stroke

Arm and Hand Exercises for Stroke Rehab

Recovering after a stroke may feel like a daunting task. Among other things, your brain must relearn skills it lost when it was damaged by the stroke. Recent research, though, shows that the brain is amazingly resilient and capable of adapting after a stroke. This means that recovery is more possible than previously thought. Recovering use of your arm does bring special challenges, though -- different than those experienced with the leg, says Susan Ryerson PT, ScD, owner of Making Progress, a physical...

Read the Arm and Hand Exercises for Stroke Rehab article > >

  • Crying is the most frequent problem.
  • Medicine may be needed to help control emotional responses.

Crying can also be a symptom of depression, which is a medical condition that often gets better with treatment. Untreated depression can interfere with recovery. And it can have a big impact on how much a person enjoys life.

People who have had a stroke may act differently because they feel isolated and have vision problems. They may:

  • Become irritable, confused, or restless.
  • Sometimes have false beliefs (delusions).
  • Have hallucinations.

This is more likely to occur when someone has to stay in bed for long periods of time. And it is more likely to be a problem at night. A radio playing softly in the bedroom or a dim light beside the bed may be helpful during the night.

If you notice that your loved one has a sudden change in emotion or mental state, it may be delirium. For delirium, the person may need medical care.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Stroke: Changes in Emotions Topics

    Today on WebMD

    brain illustration stroke
    Know these 5 signs.
    brain scans
    Test your stroke smarts.
     
    woman with migraine
    Is there a link?
    brain scan
    Get the facts.
     
    hand weights
    Slideshow
    man in silhouette and brain
    Article
     
    blood vessel
    Article
    Colored mri of brain
    Article
     
    senior man stretching pre workout
    Article
    Floor level view of therapist helping stroke patie
    Article
     
    concerned woman
    Article
    Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     

    WebMD Special Sections