What can be done for restlessness after a stroke?

Brysams asked...

My grandfather had a very mild stroke about two months ago and seems to be fine during the day. When he goes to bed he is very restless and gets up or calls a faimly member at least ten times in the hour. He is also always cold. Is there any thing to help his mind rest? (NO MEDS)

Expert Answer

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

It's a bit hard to pinpoint the problem based on this description. A few things come to mind. First, could he be having "restless legs syndrome", whereby his legs constantly feel like they have to be moving. If so, that is typically fixable with gabapentin or a dopamine agonist medicine such as Requip. Second, could he be having confusion/hallucinations at night because of the stroke. If that is the case, it usually responds best to an low dose anti-psychotic medication such as Seroquel. Finally, could he be having post-stroke pain that makes it uncomfortable for him to sleep. This might also respond to gabapentin given at night to relieve the pain.

I think the bottom line here is that it is important to figure out exactly what is bothering your grandfather, as there are several possibilities. I would talk to your doctor and describe exactly what it is that is bothering him - have your grandfather try to describe it to the doctor - and that way you can come up with a good plan of action.

Good luck!