The effects of stroke can be divided into two categories: impairments and disabilities. Impairments are changes in the body structure and function. Disabilities, on the other hand, are limitations in the performance of the activities of daily living. These can be affected not just by the physical effects of the disease, but by psychological and social factors.Impairments and disabilities can worsen with time if no intervention is done. It may lead to further deterioration due to immobility or reduced activity, leading to complications such as thrombus formation, decubitus ulcers, and pulmonary embolism. Patients may also become more dependent on others and have decreased normal social interactions. All of these can have a profound effect on a person’s well-being.
Backe, Larsson, and Fridlund (1996) investigated how patients conceived their life situation during the first week after the onset of stroke. They uncovered deep psychological trauma in the patients, wherein they had feelings of unreality, awareness of a changed role in life, feelings of a changed perception of the body, and feelings of being confused. Patients were also found to have a heightened sense of loss of capability and awareness of living in a confined space. Fortunately, some patients also developed an appreciation for the importance of support and encouragement and a will to look for new opportunities after the onset of stroke.
One of the important debilitating effects of stroke is immobility.