1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. Gordon9

    Gordon9 Registered User

    Dec 15, 2006
    North Yorkshire
    Hello everyone,

    I saw my Doctor back in October 2006 with problems regarding memory loss. He sent me to a neurologist who arranged a neurological assesment and a CT scan. In the meantime he had written to my doctor telling him he thought i fitted a
    pattern that would lead to Alzhimers disease.

    My CT scan was ok i also did quite well on the neurological assesments. I saw im recently in his clinic and he now thinks my memory lapses (which are getting worse) may be some sort of deep seated depression . He described it has Occult Depression. I must say i do not feel depressed and my wife (Marie) who came to the clinic with me agreed that other than being concerned at the possiblity of having Alzheimers i was not of a depressive nature.

    Bearing the above in mind he has decided it will be a good idea to try a course of anti-depressents before making any more judgements on a likely diagnosis.

    Has anybody out there had any similar experiences and if so what was the eventual outcome ?

    best wishes to you all

  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Dear Gordon

    As a long-time well medicated depresssive I must confess I had to look up "occult depression" since I had no idea what it was. As far as I can tell it's when you have depression, yet do not feel "classically" depressed. Is that your understanding?

    While each person may respond to anti-depressants differently, it would seem a reasonable course of action to try them and see what effect they have: the mind is so complex that there may be a chemical imbalance that the anti-depressants will put right that may be affecting your body in atypical ways. I must say, though that after you have given them a fair trial (and by that I mean several months) and you, and especially your partner, have seen no improvement (and possibly, tried more than one type of medication) it would be reasonable try and take this further. I say try, because depression can be a catch all phrase that is used by doctors when they have no idea, and it can be difficult to get more help than a handful of pills. I would also try an get an indication from your doctor about what symptoms you could expect to see if the anti-depressants weren't working. By that I mean, if it turns out the chemical imbalance didn't exist. For example, my depression is far worse in the winter than in the summer. If I stay on the same dosage during the summer, I can get strange side-effects due to an excess of seratonin (I'm on an Seratonin reuptake ihibitor type of anti-depressant): effectively I'm overdosing on seratonin, which for me, results in huge sugar cravings (I once downed a pot of jam in one sitting) :eek:

    So try the medication, but do not be fobbed off.

  3. bel

    bel Registered User

    Apr 26, 2006
    do not be fobbed off

    dear Gordon
    i can only speak from my experiences with my huby he had all the tests you had and was put on anti depressants although like you he was not depressed
    they helped his frustration re his memory for a few years
    i think jenifer is right ask more question down the line re your doctor
    sending love bel
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hi Gordon,

    My husband was treated for depression, without success, he then had a scan, which showed Brain Shrinkage. He was considered to have Alzheimers.

    This process took more than 1 year. But we had been having problems for at least 5 years prior to that.

    First his behaviour changed, and I thought he was becoming a `grumpy old man`. Then he became verbally abusive, not just to me, but to other family members, and I thought we were on the verge of divorce. Then, in addition to the abuse and aggression, came depression and short term memory loss, his spatial awareness was affected and he seemed unable to understand the most basic principles of logic and reasoning.

    I began to keep a diary in 2004, noting as many changes as I could. Most were associated with irrational and inappropriare behaviour, and anxiety. This is what I took to the GP.

    Even though there are so many differences with Alzheimers/Dementia, I hope this account of our experience helps.

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