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  1. #1
    New User
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Anxiety, Panic attacks and vascular dementia

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone has any advice about the best methods of treating severe anxiety for people with dementia.
    My grandma has vascular dementia and also depression. She had depression before dementia, however recently (and possibly due to a progression of her dementia or possibly due to being taken off her antidepressents for a few weeks?) she has been suffering from really bad panic attacks, feeling like she is going to die and is generally very unhappy.
    She was admitted to hospital last week as she also had a throat infection which I think may have been increasing her anxiety. Since being in hospital her anxiety and also confusion has been worse than ever. The doctors have increased the dosage of her anti-depressant (citalopram) from 20mg to 30mg and are going to see if that works in the next three weeks. If it does not they have said they would like to try her on an anti-psychotic drug in a low dosage. However, due to the high risk of a stroke in this mediacation, I am worried about it.
    I was wondering if anyone had any advice about anxiety and dementia. I just want my Grandma to feel happier and for her quality of life to improve.
    Many thanks, Lizzie

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2012
    my mum's alzheimers presented with anxiety and panic attacks (she never had them up until all this started). But since being on aricept, they have reduced significantly. I know aricept is not for anxiety and panic attacks, but it's certainly masked them for her a whole lot.

    she went off aricept for 3 weeks as a test to see if it was causing her tremors, and the anxiety and panic attacks came back in full effect.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    Mum diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in 2011

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Greater London
    Hello Lizzie. My mum also had VaD, and depression long before that. She also suffered badly when the hospital decided to withdraw the anti-depressant, (although her lack of cognition meant she had no awareness). I'm glad your gran is back on the ADs, though I expect it will take a while for them to kick back in. And an infection is certainly not going to help. My neighbour (with AD) is prone to panic attacks when she is not well.

    Hopefully, the docs will keep a good eye on her, and I hope things do improve.

    Daughter and former carer
    Now doing voluntary work at local Carers centre

  4. #4
    Registered User Isabella41's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Northern Ireland
    Hi Lizzie
    My mum was so verbally agressive last year that something had to be done. She was paranoid and accusing me of all sorts. She actually ended up being sectioned. If you wish feel free to read my posts from about May-August last year for all the details.

    Mum is now on Risperidone. Its been a miracle worker. Yes you're correct there is a increased risk of stroke - about 3%. Given how agitated she was I think she was more likely to have a stroke caused by raised blood pressure as a result of all the agitation. As she is so much calmer she has a better quality of life too.

    I guess its all about balance of risk. For me it was a risk I felt was worth taking. If you turn the stats around - 97% of people on Risperidone do not take strokes. It somehow makes it more positive.

    Incidenitally mum also suffers from anxiety and depression and has done pretty much her whole life. She is on meds for this too.



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