Mental health and medication

Hi. My husband had a stroke on the 3rd january, so very new to all this. He had panic attacks when he first came home and the doctor prescribed diazipam and then had to increase it a few days later. Then after a trlphone consulatation he was put on sertraline plus diazipam but told to reduce the latter as the former started to work. He has taken sertraline for 4 days now and he is feeling worse. So tired and like a zombie. He is still taking diazipam at night. I need some help about which tablet is causing these symptoms or is it to donwith the stroke. He had a basal ganglian ischemic stroke which affected his left side. Most movement has come back including speech but he walks very slowly still unstead and has been tired ever since it happened but not as bad as this. He is thinking of stopping one or other or both tablets. Tried ringing the stroke team who are supposed to be there until 4.30 in Leeds. Anyone offer any help? Gone through this?

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@mellonsclan welcome to the forum. Sorry your husband has had a stroke.

I haven’t taken the meds you mention so not able to help ref side effects etc however it is very normal post stroke to get very fatigued & there’s a chance that it’s stroke fatigue rather than meds or a combination of the 2.

Sometimes it takes a while for med side effects to settle & you might need to bear with it for a couple weeks more.

Its very early days and i know for the first couple of months after my stroke I was exhausted all the time, very unsteady on my feet & very slow.

I guess what i am saying in a long winded way is that most of what you describe is pretty normal. Always worth checking re meds though.

Wishing you all the best.

Ann x


I’m very sorry that your husband has had a stroke but agree with the posters above that fatigue after stroke is very normal whether on medication or not. It’s much better than it used to be but I am still a bit tired and wobbly 15 months after the stroke and I’m not on any medications other than a blood thinner and a statin.

Hello, welcome
I’m sad for you that you’ve had the need to join us however now your here you’ll find a knowledgeable and compassionate ear

There is a website called patientslikeme that gives lists of meds and reported sideeffects by people with the same conditions & other meds etc would be worth registering & recording his meds and looking at what similar experience is listed there

Certainly it takes some months for meds and body to reach a harmony

Fatigue is a very common challenge and research suggests there are more than 1 mechanism to cause it

There are carer groups all over the place. Id recommend joining at least 1. It’s easy to overlook carers needs. My wife Lea hosts an online carers cafe every other wed at 1030 (next 1st feb) there’s a post I did somewhere on here with details

The trend for most of us is that life gets easier month by month. It’s slow and takes commitment to the exercise/ recovery/ etc regimes & the medical profs. have expertise but not the lived experience nor the holistic integrated perspective youll both gain by day to day living.
Stay strong, accept any help offered

I had a stroke 3 months ago and by around 5pm I’m so tired my left arm and leg which were the affected limbs are useless. I get very wobbly and so tired.
I am on Sertraline and have been for several years but never experienced tiredness when I began taking it or before the stroke. It will take around 6 weeks for the Sertraline to kick in properly but have a word with your GP

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Aye, diazepam is not something recommended long term, and it can be addictive. I am a long-term panic attack sufferer, a long time before stroke, I have a pack of ten Lorazepam tablets which lasts me for a year. I only take half if I am about to have a severe panic attack, usually if I am in public. However, after stroke, the panic attacks didn’t disappear, which I was hoping might happen, and the GP put me on sertraline which I reacted negatively. In fact, I suspect it was a one off dose of sertraline that caused the start of my panic attacks all those years ago. I did a bit of research and discovered that Citalopram is the choice SRRI used to treat panic disorder, but it’s a little more expensive, so GPs are less likely to offer it as a first choice. I suggested I switch to Citalopram, and my GP agreed. It has worked very well to suppress panic attacks, for me.

Neurological-fatigue seems to be the one persistent symptom most stroke survivors can relate to. There is a distinct difference between feeling tired and feeling brain fatigued. Oh, if only I could feel tired again, really, properly tired. When fatigued, the brain gets the equivalent of delayed onset muscle soreness from working out too much. Sleep isn’t always the answer, as the brain works just as hard while sleeping as when awake. Good practice is forms of meditation, mind blanking, and as @Loshy mentions - deep breathing techniques.

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Thank 5. Hubby decided yesterday to stop diazepam and seems a little better today. He is now thinking that he has only been on sertaline for 5 days and does he need it? He may go without and see if anxiety and panic attacks return. We are both learning as we go along but it is good to know there are people to reach out to. So thank-you everyone.

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Im sorry your husband has had a storke. I had exactly the same stroke with left side affected in june last year. I was put on centreline for depression but had a real adverse effect to it so they took me off it after 4 days.

I hope your husband is on the mend x

Welcome to the club no applies to join
Sorry to hear of the change of fortune for you and your husband.

It takes a while for the new normal to settle for both of you.

Finding the doses for meds seems pretty trial & error and the professional don’t always tell you what the options for alternative are - that one of the ways in which this group is valuable. PatientsLikeMe is another web site that helps with meds for similar conditions & side effects and the nhs has a pharmacopia web site.

Also there are many mindfulness exercises that can help with anxiety with less drug use. Often with phone apps to lead ones practice. Headway is talked about as good. There’s loads of YouTube too.
Anxietie’s physical effects can lead to a viscous circle and mindfulness can combat with a virtuous one

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Thank you everyone for your help and advice. I really do appreciate the support. Hubby has now stopped the anti depressants and isnt getting panic attacks and he is no longer ‘flat’. So we are both pmeased with that. Now to battle the fatigue and weak left leg. Again thanks everyone and i hope you are all coping and adjusting to the new norm!


I am working on that with other worser issues