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  1. #1
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    depression or dementia

    Hi all. My first post. Over the last 40 plus years about twice a year my darling wife has and still suffers with very severe clinical depression. She has voluntarily experienced ECT over the years with some success but not lasting results. She is now taking a cocktail of anti-depressant drugs plus some to help with her Parkinsons symptoms. My (our) problem is that caring for her whilst being very frustrating and tiring is also rewarding as she always after some weeks "clicks" out of it and returns to me at her old self. But of late she has got it into her head that depression is turning to dementia, I find this very worrying. I do not feel that her situation has changed other than the Parkinsons does seem to be getting slowly worse but she is 78yoa and otherwise healthy. Does anyone out there have experience of this changing attitude and if so would they like to comment please. I have discussed this with both her CPN and psychiatrist both of whom agree with me but I cannot get my dear wife to accept that fact. Are there any simple ways I can clarify to her that depression and dementia are two different illnesses and that she should not worry unduly. Carian.

  2. #2
    Registered User Nightgamer's Avatar
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    Hi Carian

    Welcome to TP, my mum suffers from both depression and dementia, something i have noticed is that one can fuel the other, we have explained to her this concept as she is convinced its all dementia when clearly its not at times, but i'm sure that she doesn't get it.

    I use the conditions as indicators as to where she is (head space wise) if that makes sense, if the depression is particularly having a bad time then more often than not shortly after, the dementia will become more stronger until the depression settles down then the dementia settles down as well (just a pattern that i have noticed)

    However i'm no doctor and appreciate that everybody is effected differently.

    Are there any organisations that are helping you currently if not try the following -

    www.alzheimers.org.uk

    www.dementiauk.org

    Also if in UK have you spoken to your local social services team and seen if an assessment can be done to establish some form of entitlement to help?

    Hope this helps

  3. #3
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    Thank you Nightgamer

    Sorry I have been so long in responding to your answer to my first post. Being my first I "lost" my codeword to open the sight, silly me but at 78 yoa whilst my own body is good my mind does play tricks with me. I found your comments very interesting and whilst I am pretty sure that my dear wife does nor suffer with dementia I do sympathise with those that do and those that care for those that do. I am in the England and have a very good support team who assureme that there are no signs of dementia although depression is very bad at present. As to one fueling the other in your situation I could not comment, the human brain is so so complex and the more we feel we understand it the less we appear to know. However I believe that there is likely to be a link between the two but hey as you I am no doctor or phychiatrist. Thank you for your comments they are appreciated and good luck with your current situation and let us all pray for better days. Alan

  4. #4
    Registered User cragmaid's Avatar
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    Hello Alan, firstly I can empathise...if my own computer didn't remember my passwords for me, I'd never sign in anywhere.
    Now, I am just wondering if someone, perhaps at the Parkinson's clinic, has mentioned the fact that there is a verson of Parkinsonian Dementia. ( obviously going by the name, it is linking the two diseases). It could be that hearing or reading about has fuelled your wife's dilemma. My brother in law has severe Parkinson's Disease and his medications are being constantly tweaked and changed, often causing changes in his alertness levels. He also gets horribly depressed at times.

    Keep in touch with TP and let us know how you and your wife are getting on.
    Regards, Maureen.
    Maureen.

    “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." said Christopher Robin to Pooh. ( AA Milne)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cragmaid View Post
    Hello Alan, firstly I can empathise...if my own computer didn't remember my passwords for me, I'd never sign in anywhere.
    Now, I am just wondering if someone, perhaps at the Parkinson's clinic, has mentioned the fact that there is a verson of Parkinsonian Dementia. ( obviously going by the name, it is linking the two diseases). It could be that hearing or reading about has fuelled your wife's dilemma. My brother in law has severe Parkinson's Disease and his medications are being constantly tweaked and changed, often causing changes in his alertness levels. He also gets horribly depressed at times.

    Keep in touch with TP and let us know how you and your wife are getting on.
    Regards, Maureen.
    Hi Maureen

    Firstly thank you for your response. As a coincidence we have an appointment with our Parkinsons specialist on the 30th. Our CPN under advice from my wifes psychiatrist has suggested we enquire as to a possible link between Parkinsons and the twice yearly cycle of my wifes severe clynical depressions. It will be interesting to learn his response and if he feels there to be a possible link. Tablet tweeks are also a part of our lives and do at times have some positive outcomes but the "black hole" always opens up again and always in Spring and Autumn and "coincidentally?" around the equinox. I will post the outcome of our Parkinsons appointment and his reactions to the question. I feel it is possible as in your situation that one may well be fuelling the other and if so what further steps in medication could be used to remedy the horrible effects. Regards and best wishes in your continued struggle. Alan

  6. #6
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    Interestingly, I have a friend who has suffered with severe clinical depression all her adult life (she's now mid 70s), was diagnosed with parkinson's disease about ten years ago, and with parkinsonian dementia about five years ago. It was really difficult I think to get a diagnosis, because she, in the past (must be nearly 30 years ago) had ECT and has been on a cocktail of medications for her depression all these years, some of which have made her very forgetful. Interestingly, she will sometimes stop in mid conversation and say "I already said that, didn't I?" so sometimes she knows that she is repeating things or asking the same question over and over.

  7. #7
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    clinical depression - depression - dementia ??

    Quote Originally Posted by LadyA View Post
    Interestingly, I have a friend who has suffered with severe clinical depression all her adult life (she's now mid 70s), was diagnosed with parkinson's disease about ten years ago, and with parkinsonian dementia about five years ago. It was really difficult I think to get a diagnosis, because she, in the past (must be nearly 30 years ago) had ECT and has been on a cocktail of medications for her depression all these years, some of which have made her very forgetful. Interestingly, she will sometimes stop in mid conversation and say "I already said that, didn't I?" so sometimes she knows that she is repeating things or asking the same question over and over.
    Hi LadyA

    Thankyou for your response. As you may have read my dear wife has suffered many courses of ECT over the last 30 plus years and therefore her memory is somewhat curtailed but this does not impact on our lives to date, odd forgotten long ago memories
    but nothing too important. Our psychiatric team always insist that my wifes proplem is not dementia but purely very deep clinical depression. This I always take as good news but now with TP I am through various responses creating a new but not necessarily different picture. Parkinsons Dementia is a possibility but I need to read more before going back to our team for another assessment. Will bring up this possibility when visiting our Parkinsons specialist on 30th. Thanks again for your response and best wishes allround. Alan

  8. #8
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    I have to say Alan, it took a long time before my friend was diagnosed with the dementia, even though once she was over 65 her regular psychiatrist was a specialist in psychiatry of Old Age! Mostly, he deals with dementia, but also, he does general psychiatry for anyone over the age of 65. I think one of the problems, certainly one of the problems my friend faced getting a diagnosis, is that severe depression for such a very long time, and the various treatments and medications taken for it, can cause dementia type symptoms. So, it's difficult to see the wood for the trees, so to speak. With my friend, it was only at one point, when he had weaned her off most of her medication and the symptoms were all still there.

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