Post-stroke recovery can require multiple forms of therapy to help patients potentially regain lost functions and prevent a downward spiral caused by mental illness. If your loved one has suffered a stroke and has complications, you may want to discuss different types of therapy with their doctor. Addressing post-stroke complications as soon as your loved one is physically ready will give them the best chance at recovery and adjusting to any physical or cognitive changes.
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy
Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a form of physical therapy used to improve the function of limbs, typically the upper body, after hemiplegia. Hemiplegia is a common post-stroke complication, since many strokes affect a single side of the brain and may damage the motor cortex. CIMT was created with the underlying theory that the affected side in hemiplegic patients goes unused, not only due to paralysis, but because it is difficult to overcome the paralysis and potentially make the limb more functional.
During CIMT, the unaffected limb is constrained in some way, such as with a sling. This will encourage your loved one to attempt using their affected limb. Over time, some people may regain function in the affected limb, although the limb may not return to its previous strength and functionality. This form of physical therapy can also help reduce muscle atrophy associated with paralysis, which can further complicate any chances of recovery.
Constraint-Induced Language Therapy
Constraint-induced language therapy (CILT) is one of several methods used to help facilitate recovery from aphasia. Much like constraint-induced therapy for movement limitations after a stroke, CILT is built on the principle that creating constraints for patients will encourage them to try and use language skills that were lost or limited after a stroke. When applied to language, the constraints are the inability to use adaptive measures to compensate for language difficulties.
Depending on the type of aphasia your loved one has, they may substitute words or draw pictures because part of their language processing or recall is compromised. Eliminating substitutions forces them to work harder during therapy sessions. CILT is a difficult form of therapy for aphasia because there must be a balance between encouraging your loved one to work harder and overwhelming them, which may cause them to give up trying during therapy sessions.
Post-stroke recovery is more than a physical issue, some people experience changes in affect and personality. The emotional and psychological aspects of a stroke can be caused by damage to specific regions of the brain that are responsible for regulating emotion. However, in many cases, changes in independence or having limitations causes behavioral and emotional changes. Although any mental health professional can help after a stroke, one trained in rehabilitative psychology can offer a unique approach.
If symptoms of a mental illness occur after a stroke, your loved one may be referred to a neuropsychologist for a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause. When changes in emotions and behavior are likely due to damage in the brain regions responsible for regulation of emotion or executive functioning, your loved one may be given psychiatric medications to see if they are effective. However, changes attributed to brain lesions may resolve spontaneously or become a permanent part of their life, depending on the extent of damage.
When changes are determined to be a reaction to physical and cognitive changes post-stroke, a rehabilitative psychologist may be instrumental in helping your loved one throughout the recovery process. Depression, anxiety, and irritability are not uncommon after a stroke. Often this is due to loss of independence and finding ways to accept changes. Mental health care early after a stroke can help facilitate the recovery process. Although a complete recovery after significant post-stroke complications is not always possible, a hindrance to recovery is developing the feeling of hopelessness.
With more information available regarding the brain's ability to recover or compensate for damage, more therapeutic approaches are being used to help stroke patients reach their full rehabilitative potential. Access to diverse therapy resources shortly after a stroke can improve your loved one's recovery of functioning. For more information, contact a clinic like http://www.nrothandrehab.com.