A recent report reveals that in spite of depression being common among long-term survivors of stroke, very few get the problem treated.
"Stroke patients suffering from depression have been found to have reduced quality of life and a higher rate of death, so it is important to identify and treat depression after stroke," study lead author Seana L. Paul, a researcher at the National Stroke Research Unit in Victoria, Australia, said in a statement.
The study conducted by her team was published in the journal Stroke.
Their research involved 441 patients who were 5-year stroke survivors. Almost half of them were women and the average age was 74 years. A standard questionnaire-based test was used to determine depression in 289 of the cases.
The results revealed that 17% of them were suffering from depression, of which, only 22% were on antidepressants. 72% of those taking antidepressant medication had some relief.
"The majority of (patients) taking antidepressant medication were not depressed," Paul said in a statement. "This provides indirect evidence that antidepressants are effective in treating depression in stroke patients."
"It's known that stroke survivors who are not depressed live longer and have higher-quality lives than those who are depressed. Consequently, educating physicians, stroke survivors and their families about the risk of depression after stroke may increase identification of depression and lead to improved treatment," she added.
"The finding suggests the need for a large-scale controlled trial of antidepressant medication after a stroke, " Paul said.