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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

Silent Stroke: What You Need to Know

Have you had a stroke? How could you tell? A stroke is a sudden stop of blood supply to part of the brain. Some people have strokes without ever knowing it. These so-called silent strokes either have no easy-to-recognize symptoms, or you don’t remember them. But they do cause permanent damage in your brain. If you've had more than one silent stroke, you may have thinking and memory problems. They can also lead to more severe strokes.

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  • Crying appears to be the most frequent problem. Crying can be a symptom of depression, which is a medical condition that requires treatment. Untreated depression can interfere with recovery. And it can have a significant impact on enjoyment of life.
  • Medicine may be needed to help control emotional responses and treat depression.

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 04, 2012
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.
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