Mom's "imposter" is explained.

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by kayleigh999, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. kayleigh999

    kayleigh999 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2007
    53
    Birmingham,England
    #1 kayleigh999, Jun 22, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2007
    Hi All

    Just thought I would write an update to maybe help anyone new to this disease who has been puzzled and confused by their relative seeing their spouse as an "imposter"

    My Mom now also has a diagnosis of "Capgras syndrome",a delusion that someone close to you has been replaced by an imposter that looks like their exact double. Causes can be brain trauma, as in stroke (Moms case) and can be seen alongside dementia.

    To recap Mom diagnosed with vascular dementia in April,two years post stroke. The worse and most distressing behaviour was the increasing delusion that my Dad is not my Dad half the time and there is a double of him living in house. This got to such a crisis point that she actually ended up stabbing him in the neck with a breadknife when he was the "other" one. She now on anti-psychotic drugs and whilst they worked fantastic at first they are wearing off somewhat and the imposter is now back ( doc reviewing her meds again in 8 weeks) Some people on this board did suggest she may have this condition and they were 100% spot on,thanks for the previous input.

    Why I am writing really is, myself and my father could not understand why it was only ever him that she saw in double form. It was puzzling and we did wonder in the early days if it was just frustration at him as in you always hurt the ones you love and those closest to. It seems it is not the case, have been told when this syndrome occurs it is always the person in closest proximity to the sufferer that is targeted. Often then, as in this case it is the spouse but can also be other relatives or medical staff if in hospital or care home.

    I have printed off some information for Dad to maybe end his enless question of "why is it only me? why am I the hate figure?"

    I suppose in a logical sense Mom was attacking a stranger who was in her kitchen. I do find it hard to deal with her constantly asking who the other man is when Dad is standing there.

    I try not to think about just how it must feel for her to be thinking and feeling like this and likewise how my Dad feels after 59 years of marriage. It is a very sad situation and just another part of a confusing jigsaw that newbies like myself are trying to make sense of. Dad does spend alot of time apart from Mom because he says he is stressed. Once bits of housework done he is either in garden of social club and she alone for long periods, I have noticed it is these times the "other" one appears more often. I can only do so much, see her every day mostly until school run time and all the docs and hospital appointments inbetween.

    Anyway I have waffled a bit, as I said I do hope it helps anyone else with these strange sympom. Apart from the imposter she has other people living in the house (that dont exist) but she tolerates them more than Dad strangely!

    I wish everyone out there a good day
     
  2. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    9,222
    Kayleigh thanks for this post. I had never heard of Capgras syndrome. It must be dreadful for your poor dad and so stressful for you. It was helpful and kind of you to flag this up for everyone else. Thank you again and kind regards, Deborah
     
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,903
    Kent
    Dear Kayleigh,

    I remember reading another Post about Capgras Syndrome on the TP Forum, but also had never heard of it before.

    I shows the value of Forums like this, we are all learning.

    It doesn`t make it less distressing for you and your father though, apart from having official recognition your mother could not have helped herself. And it`s still so hurtful for your father that he`s the only one your mother targets.

    Thanks for the details. It`s good to know, although so painful for you.

    Love xx
     
  4. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Kayleigh, thanks so much for the information.

    Dementia is such a strange disease, with an infinite range of variations. It's amazing that such a comparatively small organ as the brain can produce such a variety of symptoms when it goes wrong.

    It would be fascinating if we weren't so closely (and horribly) involved.

    I do hope thay manage to keep your mum relatively stable, Kayleigh.

    Love,
     
  5. marlene

    marlene Registered User

    Apr 20, 2007
    26
    notts
    hi kayleigh, my mum also has Capgras Syndrome and she also threatened to stab my imposter dad, wander if you could get your mums medication changed right away it helped my mum. She was on 100mg of quetiapine aday which kept everything under control for a couple of months, then we noticed that she was becoming increasingly pyscotic and aggresive, her doctor upped the dose of quetiapine to 150mg aday, things have settled back down now and mum is doing really well. We have been told that her meds will have to be looked at every month or so now just to make sure everything is ok...
    sending my best to you marlene x
     
  6. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello Kayleigh

    Glad you have a diagnosis now.

    I would suggest you contact the doctor to let him know the effect is wearing off sooner rather than later though, as your Dad has been attacked before it seems a long time to wait for the medication to be altered.

    Kathleen
     
  7. MillyP

    MillyP Registered User

    Jan 5, 2007
    108
    London
    #7 MillyP, Jun 22, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2007
    Been there got the T Shirt and the DVD as they say....I know too well what you're going through hun...they say that the sufferer can even see an imposter in a dog or a cat and react in the same way as they do with a husband or a wife:( ...please don't wait for the Doctor to review her meds again in 8 weeks...my Mum chose to wait and it was the worst thing she could have done...my Dad ended up back in the Mental Health ward of the local hospital...get in touch with either the Doctor or the CPN if your Mum has been appointed one and explain what is happening...they need to know and act accordingly as soon as possible. Read my thread and you will understand why it's so important to keep the medication she in on correct or your Mum is going to suffer unnecessarily and your Dad will become stressed out by it all...it need not be like that if help is sought when new symptoms are seen in your Mum and acted upon quickly by the Doctors. :) They had to up Dads medication and he is better but he still has to be watched carefully incase it happens again. Keep strong hun...it's tough, I know.:)


    My Thread "It's Happened"
    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/TalkingPoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=6118
     
  8. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    Did your mother actually stab your mother in the neck , coursing him to bleed ?
     
  9. kayleigh999

    kayleigh999 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2007
    53
    Birmingham,England
    Thanks

    Hi All

    Thank you for your replies, Deborah and Grannie, thanks for your thoughts.

    Skye, totally agree it is facinating and as you say a pity we are so involved.

    Marlene and Kathleen, I will speak to CPN and get drugs upped I think. Saw Doc thurs,when given other diagnosis, and he was undecided whether to up them as they make patients sleepy. Also Dad is so afraid of her being sectioned he plays it down and has selective memory of the good days to tell the Doc, coping mechinism I suspect, or denial.

    Typically there has been a downturn since with Mom back on the phone constantly to me asking me to get rid of the "other one" and distressed about her belongings being stolen again.

    Margarita, yes she did actually wound his neck, I would have said it was deeper than superficial, you could see clots in it, but not needing stitches (he would not have gone if it had and got Mom into "trouble" )

    Milly P, I have PM you.

    Thanks again to everyone who took the time to reply. I posted a poem about my Mom, it is sad but an insight to how sad I was feeling at the time. On a more positive note tomorrows a new day :)

    K xxx
     
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    Kayleigh: I would think if I was given a choice beteen sleepy and terrified I know which one I'd choose. I understand that the GP may feel it's a dilemma (if she's sedated she's more likely to fall for example) but you might want to push it less on the basis of how she affects others around her, but how she must be feeling herself. Also, of course, many meds that would make a person sleepy if there was nothing wrong with them, may not have that effect until more than a therapeutic dose is adminstered. In other words, the condition "sucks up" the meds until a therapeutic level is reached. I know it varies by individual, but you might want to ask if an effective dose "always" results in sleepiness or if the sleepiness is a possible result of over medication.
     
  11. MillyP

    MillyP Registered User

    Jan 5, 2007
    108
    London
    Jen is rght....we were told that when Dads tablets we're increased he would feel more sleepy for a while and in fact he did, but after his body adjusted to the new dose, which took a couple of weeks, he wasn't sleepy and also more easy to manage...it can be very scary when Dad starts going off on one...if I had the choice I would rather he be a bit sleepy then trying to kill my Mum:) Keep us updated hun...love and hugs coming at ya;)
     
  12. kayleigh999

    kayleigh999 Registered User

    Apr 6, 2007
    53
    Birmingham,England
    Hi

    Thank you milly and jenniferpa.
    I am going to ring the psychiatrist at 9am today. Mom is now 100% convinced Dad is dead and keeps asking when the funeral is so this is not a blip that is going away.

    Thank you foryour input.
    Best wishes to everyone,

    K xxx
     
  13. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    Hoping the psychiatrist can offer some emergency support
     
  14. MillyP

    MillyP Registered User

    Jan 5, 2007
    108
    London

    Exactly what my Dad thought:rolleyes: he kept shouting at my Mum "you wicked, wicked woman, what have you done with my wife...where have you put her body because I know you've killed her:rolleyes:
     

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