how to deal with hallucinations?

Discussion in 'Recently diagnosed and early stages of dementia' started by Argon, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Argon

    Argon Registered User

    Mar 8, 2015
    16
    My partners father has recently been told that he has 'local bipariatal atrophy' with no explanation of what this means (was from a brain scan) or how to deal with this. From Google, we now understand that this seems to be a type of alzheimers that only effects the parietal lobe rather than the whole brain though it can develop into 'full' alzheimers.

    Effectively he has no memory issues but suffers severe hallucinations which revolve around a person who is trying to kick him from his home, push him over or steal money. He hides things and locks doors (including locking his wife and children out of the house) he swears and shouts loudly at this 'thing' and walks around the home using sticks, grabbing tools or other objects to beat at it, often breaking things around the house and also filled a spray bottle with bleach which he was using to spray on it.. They found out after the spray landed on his sons hand and his skin peeled off.

    He also does this outside the house and delivery people have been unable to get in after seeing what looks like a "madman" often beating at the bushes outside with things.

    He also can fall randomly and can be unreasonable. His follow up appointment was supposed to be in august (nearly a year after first expressing concerns and he is now much much worse!) but his wife has another doc appointment for the 10th in the hope of at least getting some help or clarification as they have just been abandoned.

    But does anyone have any advice on dealing with these symptoms as we are at a loss. He is 65 years old :(
     
  2. Jiggsy

    Jiggsy Registered User

    Apr 6, 2015
    6
    Hallucinations

    Hi Argon. That sounds like a very difficult situation for all concerned. First of all, the term 'local (or focal) biparietal atrophy' means shrinkage (atrophy) of both (bi) parietal lobes (there is a left and a right parietal lobe). 'Local' means there is no evidence of shrinkage beyond the parietal lobes. Unfortunately, if the diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia is correct, the shrinkage will start to affect other parts of the brain in time. If your partner's dad has intact memory and 'insight', it might be possible to explain that his delusions and hallucinations are symptoms of the disease, but I expect you have already tried that. Does distraction have any effect? Have you noticed when it's particularly bad, or not so bad? Is there a pattern? If so, that might help you figure out how to help. Also, a psychiatrist who specializes in dementia might be able to help, either with anxiety reducing meds, or sedative / anti-psychotic meds. Meds don't always work, however, and they can be risky for older people, so they have to be used quite carefully. Generally, we try to avoid them for people with dementia, but most people with dementia don't have these kinds of delusions and hallucinations. Finally, don't allow yourselves to be abandoned by the health services. Your GP and / or older adult psychiatric service should be there to help. But if you don't get in touch with them, they will assume that things are okay. If you have been in touch with them and they haven't got involved, keep going back to them! The most difficult scenario is that there is no medical treatment for these behavioural problems, and eventually your partner's father will require residential care because of the impact of these behaviours on him and those around him. I do hope that your psychiatric team will be able to help with this - must be very stressful for the family.
     
  3. Argon

    Argon Registered User

    Mar 8, 2015
    16
    Thanks so much for your reply. If you try to explain that it is not a real thing he will get grumpy and accuse you or disbelieving him. Often if you try to stop him beating at things he will do it worse and get annoyed. He likes watching football (though he often make strange incomprehensible noises while doing so) and seems to respond well to positive emotions like smiling and laughing. When adverts come on he will claim the TV is broken and sometimes start swearing at the thing.

    They are now starting to hassle docs etc and hoping to move to another surgery as their current one is useless and you need to wait weeks for an appointment, get the wrong meds, prescribed stuff you are allergic to and are generally a bit rubbish.
     
  4. Argon

    Argon Registered User

    Mar 8, 2015
    16
    And now the other night he punched his wife in his sleep claiming the thing he sees was on her. The next day he denied it but blamed his wife for being on the things side. :(
     
  5. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    13,529
    Ireland
    I don't often come into this section Argon, but happened to this evening and saw your posts. Any updates?
    This sounds very like my husband early in his dementia (He is now in the late stages of the illness and in full time care). He (and we) went through hell and back with his hallucinations and delusions. It was a 24/7 nightmare for months, while the consultant psychiatrist (a Psychiatry of Old Age specialist) tried various things to quell OH's hallucinations & delusions. My husband was convinced there were evil men living in the attic - they were sawing the roof off the house & were going to then push the walls in on top of us - so he spent nights racing around the house pushing the furniture up against the walls to bolster them. He thought there were evil men living in my daughter's bedroom and every night, they would torture her to death (with teaspoons!), pour acid in her eyes etc. There were evil children living in the trees outside, so we couldn't go out as they were shrieking and screaming and throwing things at us. On and on it went. Finally, when all else failed, he was put on Risperidone, an anti-psychotic. Yes, they do carry risks. But the consultant felt that the immense stress the hallucinations he was experiencing were putting him under also carried a significant risk at his age. And you have to weigh quality of life against simply longevity. We felt on balance, it was worth the risk. When my husband started on the anti-psychotic medication, it was as if someone had flipped a switch - he calmed right down, he wasn't constantly hearing voices shouting at him, and the evil men disappeared. In fact, some months later, he said to me one day "I wonder what ever happened to those men that used to live here? I haven't heard from them in a while now. They shouldn't have been here! It wasn't right what they were trying to do!"

    I do hope your family have found the help your partner's father needs - you do need to keep going back, and make sure to paint the stark picture for the doctors. We are somehow always inclined to sort of smooth over problems - make them seem as if they aren't really as bad as they actually are. This is no time for that. The doctors need to know in no uncertain terms how bad things are. This man's wife is at risk. Other people in the family are at risk. Not that he would knowingly hurt them - but his illness means that they can be hurt as sort of "collateral damage." They need support - not sure of the system there, but others will be able to advise better.
     
  6. Polaris

    Polaris Registered User

    Feb 5, 2015
    17
    My relative became psychotic with hallucinations and was misdiagnosed with dementia and ME. It turned out to be severe B12 deficiency and she made a good recovery after eventually treated with B12 injections,

    B12 deficiency is very common in the elderly when stomach acid reduces and B12 and other nutrients not absorbed. There are guidelines and research which advises testing and treating before reaching a diagnosis of dementia but many doctors and psychiatrists are not doing this.

    I would advise all relatives to insist upon this simple testing and treatment.
     
  7. Argon

    Argon Registered User

    Mar 8, 2015
    16
    Meant to update this... His wife has been to docs and was prescribed some meds (I can't for the life of me remember what they were) which helped a little by calming him down. He is much worse and in a very rapid decline. They asked docs for help and were yet again fobbed off " we can't do anything call X " and everything says the same. It's over a year since they first expressed concern with mild symptoms and he has had the scan and appointment in August. Nothing else. He spends the whole day making strange noises at the TV etc... Going outside and swearing shouting, he falls over and has what I can only describe as a tantrum making him extremely difficult to help. He's up all night shouting and hitting things and it's very stressful for the family. They have no help, no advice and information on his condition has been got off Google! As they were given no info other than "brain shows bipariatel atrophy" (spelling?) is there anything that can be done to help them? His wife gets hit, he breaks stuff, hits at stuff..
    Tbh it's a nightmare :(
     
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,698
    Female
    South coast
    Have you ever had an assessment by Adult Services (prev Social Services) Argon? They are the people who you really need to be talking to. You can contact them and ask for a needs assessment to get some help.
     
  9. Argon

    Argon Registered User

    Mar 8, 2015
    16
    I dont think they have and will suggest it to them. It just like being in limbo because all they got was a litter with one sentence saying about the atrophy and that's it. Just silence... No explaination of what this meansvetc. I think they are also worried that social will justify forcing him into a care home which would destroyed him... He still remembers stuff and is still there underneath these hallucinations which are the main issue tbh.
     
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,698
    Female
    South coast
    My experience of Social Services is that they will try anything and everything before even considering residential care as it is so expensive. The usual problem is the opposite - that family know that he/she is not coping and that they need to go into a home, but SS wont do it. So if you are worrying about them "packing him off permanently" then be reassured. What they might suggest is day care (often held in a care home) for a couple of days a week, which could be extended to more days at some point. They may also suggest respite, where he would go into a care home for a few days or a week to give your mum a break. If he needs help with washing/dressing then they may also suggest carers coming in to do this, which would take pressure off your mum.
     
  11. Argon

    Argon Registered User

    Mar 8, 2015
    16
    I'm not sure if day centres etc would work in his case as he is in 60s but young for his age if that makes sense plus I don't know if they could manage him? He's now started being more aggressive and hitting his wife / saying his sister is outside with her children and his wife won't let them in. Calling her names and threatening to burn down the house. She is now frightened of him... she's terrified of him getting arrested or sectioned (she has a bit of paranoia) just desperate to find a way to manage him :(
     

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