(HealthDay News) – After six weeks of in-patient treatment at Walter Reed National MIlitary Medical Center, Sen. John Fetterman is back home in western Pennsylvania and in remission from depression.
Fetterman will return to the Senate when Congress reconvenes April 17 after a recess. The Pennsylvania senator had been hospitalized since Feb. 15.
“I am so happy to be home. I’m excited to be the father and husband I want to be, and the senator Pennsylvania deserves. Pennsylvanians have always had my back, and I will always have theirs,” Fetterman said in a statement on Twitter. The 53-year-old senator has a wife and three school-age children.
Fetterman suffered a stroke that almost killed him while campaigning last May, followed by surgery to implant a pacemaker to manage the heart conditions atrial fibrillation and cardiomyopathy. Depression is a common post-stroke symptom.
Since then, he has also been dealing with an auditory processing disorder, which can affect a person’s ability to speak fluidly and quickly process spoken conversation. He uses devices to transcribe words in real time, the Associated Press reported. Fetterman was supplied with hearing aids while at Walter Reed.
Fetterman spoke on Sunday about the symptoms he had been experiencing prior to being admitted to the hospital.
During a “CBS Sunday Morning” interview, Fetterman said that “[I] had stopped leaving my bed, I’d stopped eating, I was dropping weight, I’d stopped engaging in some of the most — things that I love in my life.”
His aides added he had become withdrawn, without the usual banter, the AP reported.
He had “severe symptoms of depression with low energy and motivation, minimal speech, poor sleep, slowed thinking, slowed movement, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, but no suicidal ideation,” a statement attributed to Dr. David Williamson, a neuropsychiatrist who led his treatment team said, the AP reported.
While his symptoms worsened and he wasn’t eating or drinking as he should have been, his blood pressure became low, according to the statement.
“His depression, now resolved, may have been a barrier to engagement,” it noted.
Remission from depression is defined as when a patient makes a return to normal social function, the AP reported.
“The whole thing about depression,” Fetterman said during his CBS interview, “is that objectively you may have won, but depression can absolutely convince you that you actually lost and that’s exactly what happened, and that was the start of a downward spiral.”
The National Institute of Mental Health has more on depression.
SOURCE: Associated Press
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