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One in five stroke survivors suffer depression

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Primary care nurses have been urged to look for signs of depression in stroke survivors following research from Australia that found the risk of depression is high but that treatments rates are low.

Primary care nurses have been urged to look for signs of depression in stroke survivors following research from Australia that found the risk of depression is high but that treatments rates are low.

The research followed-up 289 patients enrolled in the North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study.

It shows that 17% were depressed five years after their stroke but only 22% of those with depression were taking an antidepressant.

Of the patients taking antidepressants 72% were not depressed, which could mean their antidepressants had been successful, the researchers add.

Lead author Seana Paul, doctoral candidate at the National Stroke Research Institute in Victoria, told NT: 'Nurses should be on the look out for symptoms of depression among stroke survivors in their care. We hope this may lead to treatment, be it pharmacological or non-pharmacological.'

Tim Ayers, consultant nurse for stroke at Devon PCT, added: 'Nurses need to recognise depression and anxiety are a big risk following stroke and pick up changes in patients' mood early.'

Stroke(2006) Online publication: DOI: 10.1161/01.STR.0000244806.05099.52.

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