The hospitalization of Democratic Sen. John Fetterman for the treatment of clinical depression has sparked debate over the relationship between depression and strokes as well as the length of his stay.
According to his office, the Pennsylvania Democrat, who had a stroke in May of last year before being nominated for the Senate, has struggled with depression periodically throughout his life, but it has just recently become severe.
A third of stroke victims experience some form of clinical depression. It might be due to a variety of factors, including the stroke’s direct effects on the brain.
There isn’t much evidence to support the cause, but one theory is that strokes themselves disrupt the brain’s ability to function normally, messing up not only the area of the brain where the neurons are affected by the stroke itself but also the way the various brain regions communicate with one another.
So, it may result in cognitive issues, which may affect how we view and understand the outside world and result in depression, according to a news release issued on Friday by Dr. Will Cronenwett, chief of psychiatry at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
It might also have more of a psychological effect from having to deal with reduced talents.
“Many stroke victims must adjust to the new reality of what their body and brain are capable of. According to Cronenwett, for some people, this adjustment can cause depression.”
According to CNN’s interview with mental health professionals, Fetterman’s past history of depression probably elevated his likelihood of post-stroke depression.
According to Abigail Hardin, an assistant professor of rehabilitation psychology at Rush University, people with a history of depression after having a stroke are substantially more likely to experience post-stroke sadness.
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John Fetterman’s wife abruptly leaves the country while he is hospitalized.
Her husband gets hospitalized with severe depression and her first thought is to leave the country.
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) February 24, 2023
It’s uncertain how long Fetterman might remain at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a source familiar with the situation told CNN’s Manu Raju last week. The source speculated that he might stay for about a month, go earlier, or stay a little longer. According to the source, it would take some time for him to obtain the proper prescription for his therapy.
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Association, there is no standard recommendation for how long a patient with depression should remain in the hospital. A few days or a few weeks are possible for patients to stay.
“It is probable that someone with pre-existing depression will be more resistant to treatment and have a history of taking unsuccessful drugs.”
Hence, depending on how they present, they may need more intensive treatment, which could take several weeks or perhaps several months, said Dr. Daniel Bober, a psychiatrist in Hollywood, Florida.
“This puts him in much greater danger and demands much more severe therapy in someone who’s previously had depression even before their stroke,” Bober said.
Weight loss and appetite loss were among Fetterman’s depressive symptoms, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The source claimed that he wasn’t suicidal. His lack of eating and drinking water contributed to lightheadedness. He was hospitalized earlier this month in Washington, DC, after feeling lightheaded. According to his office, he had no further strokes.
“In general, people who seek treatment for a psychiatric disease like depression do so because they are either severely suicidal or because their ability to care for themselves has been determined to be insufficient. And when I say that they are unable of taking care of themselves, I mean that they are unable to meet their daily requirements for food, water, and hygiene due to the severity of their depression,” Bober said.
One benefit of treating depression in a hospital is the speed of treatment. According to Cronenwett, doctors can attempt various strategies and change course if one doesn’t work.
“Those who are depressed occasionally struggle with daily tasks. They can stop functioning or stop eating. They can receive assistance from the hospital with their everyday activities.”
When they are recovering, the hospital can be a place of safety for certain people who may be having suicidal thoughts, according to Cronenwett.
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Talk therapy and antidepressant medicines are both options for treatment.
Talk therapy refers to a variety of therapeutic modalities, most notably cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. When used in conjunction with medicine, CBT has been proven to be quite successful. Moreover, psychotherapy is a crucial part of treating someone with severe depression, according to Bober.
The good news is that depression can be effectively treated, and response rates can reach up to 80% of patients within four to six weeks. Thus, I have high hopes that he will fully recover.