How should we deal with my dad's anxiety attacks after his stroke?

3 answers | Last updated: Nov 30, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Since my father's stroke, he's made a lot of progress physically. But at night, he's been waking up very frightened and anxious. He has apraxia, so he can't tell us what's going on, but he seems to be in a state of real panic. What could be causing these attacks and what can we do to help him?

Expert Answers

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

A stroke is a very stressful and scary event; anxiety after a stroke is common, and some people even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. It sounds like your father is suffering from anxiety and might benefit greatly from the help of a professional, either a psychiatrist or psychologist. Keep in mind that his inability to speak does not necessarily mean that he doesn't understand what's being said to him, so counseling from a mental health professional can be quite helpful. Both medication and non-medical treatment would likely be very helpful regardless of your father's language disability.

Community Answers

Dianne5240 answered...

Hi I have had one stroke back in 2000 and it took me 6 months to recover back to normal since then I have had 5 TIA's every time I am scared is this the one that will take me it is so hard to explain to people what you feel your anxious your scared frustrated you can't talk or tell anyone what's going on at first I went to a biblestudy group I am a christian but not overly religious trying to find answer to help me and get them to pray for me till one day my brother-in-law said to me "only one person knows when it's your time give it over to him to watch over you and pray to him to give you strength to get through them each time". I did this and it seemed to ease my mind that someone was with me when I would go through these things I was always scared of dying but now I know he is with me and I can't do anything or change anything especially because they didnt know what causes them so I have nothing to cut back on or look to. At present I am weaker in body because of having them can stutter at times forget words but I look at it I am still alive and everything past that is a blessing I hope this helps I know your dad is different but show him your love and that you are there for him I think the help and love of my daughter has got me through most of them her caring and just being there if I need her makes a difference and my sisters telling me they don't want me to leave yet. So I will keep fighting and praying and hopefully that will be enough if not I will be in his hands so all is good. Like I said I am not religious but we all need to pray when all looks bleak for us they say give it over to him to carry our burden. Hope this helps in some way it has given me peace maybe we all have to find our own individual answer who knows take care and keep positive Di PS I was scared to sleep after each attack too I know what that is I just prayed to give me strength to cope I didn't want to go to bed and sleep

Penedawn answered...

Strokes can take as many months as your age, even if it shows nothing. Panic attacks can be constant and CBS just leaves you terrified. Tablets make you ill. things like Valium are immediate and stop you getting more and more scared about the way you feel for you don't want to do anything and the doctors just want to use anti depressants, which are just as bad and often make you very ill. Doctors panic if you say Xanax. Look into it, find something that you can work with before you take to drink. Constant panic and fear is more of a problem than addiction or we don't have a life.