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I think my OH may have dementia

Lisa pugh

New member
Jun 22, 2022
1
0
I need help. My partner is showing signs of memory loss. I have contacted our GP who has prescribed Sertraline 50MG as she believes that his forgetfulness may be down to anxiety.
He has been taking the medication now for 8 weeks and I do not think it is helping at all. I can tell him something and 15 minutes later if I mention it again he cannot recall me telling him. He then gets very upset.
He has pieces of card everywhere with information written on them, even our Grandchildren's names as he forgets them and is constantly asking me what time or what day is it.
I may be barking up the wrong tree here and I was willing to give the GP's advise a go but she doesn't want to refer us to anyone and won't see us face to face (we have had three telephone conversations). If she saw him in person I think she would understand my concerns.
It has taken me a while to get him to understand that there is a problem and that we need to get answers, but we don't seem to be getting anywhere fast. He is 55 years old.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Lisa.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
5,044
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @Lisa pugh and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I think you need to send your GP a bullet pointed list of your concerns. Maybe jot down things that concern you for a week, then you'll have a clearer idea of what exactly you want to highlight. If that doesn't help, is there another doctor at the practice you could contact?
I'm sure others will be along shortly with their suggestions.
 

nellbelles

Volunteer Host
Nov 6, 2008
9,646
0
leicester
Hello and welcome to the forum @Lisa pugh
one suggestion offered by people in a similar situation is to keep a diary for a few weeks and then write to the Gp explaining exactly what is happening.
I hope now you have found the forum you will continue to post, the forum is a safe and friendly place for support and information.
 

jzw01

Registered User
Jun 12, 2021
216
0
Hello from me too. I found "Social Prescribers" (https://www.england.nhs.uk/personalisedcare/social-prescribing/) very helpfull as the one I dealt with has time to talk and will chase the GP. I only found out about them by chance as I had trouble contacting our GP directly.

They work with the practice but are not medical. I'm not sure how universal they are but it might be worth a try.

Best Wishes
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
899
0
Your GP should not be refusing to see your OH in person. Yes, Covid is still around but not everything can be dealt with by telephone. Put a complaint into your practice.

I would also keep a diary of worrying symptoms and incidents.

I wonder how many people who have memory problems 'only' have depression or anxiety rather than dementia. Do people with these conditions really not remember the names of close family members or stop being able to manage basic tasks? I'm sceptical.
 

Quite contrary

Registered User
Jan 5, 2020
326
0
Ilford, Essex
I agree with Violet Jane. I have suffered with anxiety and depression on and off for most of my life and yes it can cause problems with memory but I have never forgotten the names of close family members nor something I was told only 15 minutes before. You definitely need to pursue this with the GP and be very assertive that it is not anxiety causing problems, rather the other way around; it is the memory problems causing the anxiety.
 

Carmenjane

Registered User
Mar 17, 2022
132
0
This is exactly what happened with my OH - except it was the Memory Clinic who diagnosed depression and anxiety and prescribed Sertraline, 25mg at first. This did help in that he wasn't so distressed but he was still anxious, his memory was getting worse and he was confused. They put the dose up to 50mg which again had some effect on his mood but other symptoms got worse. I actually thought he might have a UTI (he didn't). He couldn't find his way around our small house, didn't know whether he was upstairs or downstairs, needed to be guided through washing and dressing step by step. They put it up to 100mg and that just knocked him out completely, I had to call the GP as I could barely rouse him one morning. He took observations and said "that is not depression and anxiety". The dose of Sertraline was taken back to 50mg and we eventually did get a diagnosis of vascular dementia by which time he was incontinent and extremely confused. Reading between the lines and picking up hints from the nurses at the memory clinic they were having trouble convincing the consultant, who of course we never saw.
 

Andrew_McP

Registered User
Mar 2, 2016
327
0
South Northwest
Sadly, the symptoms you describe are all too familiar, even if your poor OH is young for such a concern... which is no doubt why the doctor is eager to rule out something less serious. Not that anxiety isn't serious, but after 8 weeks you'd hope for a hint of improvement if improvement was coming.

Keep notes, as others say, then put them into a letter -- as long as you need -- to the doctor. The letter has to be recorded (I believe!) whereas a phone call only leaves a footprint in your OH's notes that the doctor decides are relevant.

Once your concerns are documented, it's going to be easier for the doctor to follow them through than risk looking negligent... no, that's a loaded word... let's say "unhelpful" later.

There are no magic bullets ahead, even with a diagnosis, but there's certainly more help available than none at all! :)

Good luck to you both. This journey's tough enough without feeling you're not being listened to properly.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,341
0
Kent
Hello @Lisa pugh

My husband was treated for depression and anxiety for a year before he had a scan and Alzheimer`s was diagnosed. It seems many other conditions need to be eliminated before any form of dementia is considered.
 

mikeb2

Registered User
May 17, 2022
38
0
Wish I could say that my husband was dealing with depression ; anxiety, but my husband is one of those people who always been calm and collected and cheerful , never rushed into things, he was and still do daily meditation, though sadly he seems to not do it so much has forgetfulness, confusion and so on is destroying him though He does not his new condition gets him down, always stating what will be , also he has suffered 3 years of chronic pain in his knee after a failed knee replacement op but he never complained though I know he suffering from the constant pain and still on crutches and still waiting for a revision ,, so sometimes its so easy to state o its depression/ anxiety etc , give him or her another pill, and go away, thats another one off the hospital waiting list. So if the DR was to state he was depressed I know He would laugh
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,431
0
High Peak
Your GP should not be refusing to see your OH in person. Yes, Covid is still around but not everything can be dealt with by telephone. Put a complaint into your practice.

I would also keep a diary of worrying symptoms and incidents.

I wonder how many people who have memory problems 'only' have depression or anxiety rather than dementia. Do people with these conditions really not remember the names of close family members or stop being able to manage basic tasks? I'm sceptical.
Totally agree with this. What is wrong with GPs these days? Why don't they listen? Why don't they believe what we tell them?? I despair, I really do.

I also don't think depression causes the same symptoms/behaviours as dementia, which to anyone who has witnessed it, are very specific.

@Lisa pugh Please persist and as others have said, keep a record of all these behaviours then ask for a different doctor at the surgery.