, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 192-199

The Potential of a Mindfulness-Enhanced, Integrative Neuro-psychotherapy Program for Treating Fatigue Following Stroke: A Preliminary Study

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Abstract

Fatigue is a frequently reported symptom after a stroke. Although the phenomenology of poststroke fatigue is well known, clear definitions as well as diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines are missing. Poststroke fatigue can be regarded as a multidimensional phenomenon that might be influenced by neurological, physical, psychological, and cognitive factors. It can range from mild to severe and can affect every area of the activities of daily life. The objective of our preliminary study was to outline aspects of a specific treatment program for the management of poststroke fatigue. Eight patients were recruited for a mindfulness-enhanced, integrative neuropsychotherapy program. The treatment was a combination of neuropsychological interventions, psychoeducation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and mindfulness techniques. The main treatment foci were (a) to facilitate an increased awareness of fatigue symptoms, (b) to help the patient detect and manage triggers of fatigue, and (c) to equip the patient with multiple self-help tools. Measures were assessed at the beginning, during, and at the end of treatment using self-assessment questionnaire for mental fatigue and related symptoms after neurological disorders and injuries. Significant pre- to post-assessment differences were observed. These findings suggest that patients may benefit from a specific treatment program in order to better adapt to poststroke fatigue. These findings encourage further investigation of this integrative treatment in larger samples that include adequate control treatments.