Neuropsychiatric sequelae of stroke

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Abstract |

Stroke survivors are often affected by psychological distress and neuropsychiatric disturbances. About one-third of stroke survivors experience depression, anxiety or apathy, which are the most common neuropsychiatric sequelae of stroke. Neuropsychiatric sequelae are disabling, and can have a negative influence on recovery, reduce quality of life and lead to exhaustion of the caregiver. Despite the availability of screening instruments and effective treatments, neuropsychiatric disturbances attributed to stroke are currently underdiagnosed and undertreated. Stroke severity, stroke-related disabilities, cerebral small vessel disease, previous psychiatric disease, poor coping strategies and unfavourable psychosocial environment influence the presence and severity of the psychiatric sequelae of stroke. Although consistent associations between psychiatric disturbances and specific stroke locations have yet to be confirmed, functional MRI studies are beginning to unveil the anatomical networks that are disrupted in stroke-associated psychiatric disorders. Evidence regarding biochemical and genetic biomarkers for stroke-associated psychiatric disorders is still limited, and better understanding of the biological determinants and pathophysiology of these disorders is needed. Investigation into the management of these conditions must be continued, and should include pilot studies to assess the benefits of innovative behavioural interventions and large-scale cooperative randomized controlled pharmacological trials of drugs that are safe to use in patients with stroke.

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