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Obsessions in ftd

yorkie46

Registered User
Jan 28, 2014
284
Southampton
Does anyone have experience or advice 're dealing with obsession in someone with ftd?
You may have seen from other posts that my husband has sore on both forearms that he is constantly picking at with scissors or tweezers. He is convinced these have been caused by flea bites from our cat. He believes that the fleas have burrowed into his skin and he has pulled some out. I have seen no evidence of fleas on the cat or the furniture and nobody else has been bitten and my grandson often plays on the floor when he's here. I have treated the cat and sprayed his chair twice. Every morning as soon as he gets up he inspects the cushion on his chair and picks off any black bits that he finds. He then inspects his white dressing gown. Every time he has an itch he tells me he is being bitten but there is no evidence if bites.
This has been going on for months now. The doctor has given him a cream to wash with and to use as a moisturiser and she told him to stop picking! They began to improve but he is now picking again with a vengeance so they are looking very red again. He had a course of antibiotics too.
Every time I tell him to stop picking he says it's not hurting me and it's his body. This afternoon I'd had enough so I said well if it's your body don't expect me to care and to keep putting your cream on! I know it was the wrong thing to say but I'm so sick of seeing him constantly picking. He got upset and then started acting the victim which is what he always did before he was diagnosed and we argued about something. I was upset but vented my feelings on the washing up!
Well I've just put the cream on AGAIN!
I've talked to the GP several times and she just says it's very common. I wonder if there's any medication that would stop humbling so obsessed and stop him picking. I'm desperately in need of a break but I'm worried a care home won't take him for respite if he has these sores.
Any advice please.
 

Hellyg

Registered User
Nov 18, 2014
82
Midlands
My husband has FTD and had obsessions, although different ones to your husband.

He was prescribed Risperidone (an anti psychotic drug) which greatly helped. Although it did come with side effects, and maybe speeded up his decline in terms of language etc.
 

Lirene

Registered User
Sep 15, 2019
170
Yes, it is very common my husband was obsessed with ‘biddies’ as we call them, similar to bed bugs. They were actually fluff off his socks, which he wore in bed. I could not convince him and he actually thought they moved and even ‘trapped’ one under a plastic see through dish. ‘Quick quick there’s one here I’ve caught it’! which was actually a piece of fluff, and again it was moving.
In the end just to keep the peace we had new beds and new bedding which solved the problem until he went on to something else! There are, I’m afraid, no easy answers but I wish you good luck and loads of patience xx
 

MAMMYGRANNY

Registered User
Jan 26, 2016
63
I often remove imaginary ticks from my husbands legs. He is immobile and can't reach his legs. TG he's never had any on his arms
 

yorkie46

Registered User
Jan 28, 2014
284
Southampton
Thank you @Hellyg for your reply. I have been wondering about an antipsychotic drug but I am aware that there are probably unwanted side effects and I wonder how I would manage these. Can the GP prescribe this sort of medication or would he need referring back to a consultant?
Do you think obsessions are a natural progression of the dementia? I'm wondering if he will ever lose them.
 

yorkie46

Registered User
Jan 28, 2014
284
Southampton
Thanks @Lirene. Your husband's obsession sounds very similar to my husband. He also has at various times shown me things he has caught which he believes are fleas. He's had them on a piece of tissue and when the tissue moved so did the so called flea. I couldn't convince him that they were not fleas. Unfortunately as he thinks the fleas come from the cat I can't easily go down the route of replacement , though I have to say when she eventually dies I will not be getting another cat as I can do without the extra work. Although she is lovely she has never been a lap cat and will not allow us to pick her up. This is another reason why I don't believe these sores were ever flea bites.
My husband's memory and cognitive skills have also definitely declined as has his mobility so I wonder if the obsession is a natural progression of this wicked disease.
 

yorkie46

Registered User
Jan 28, 2014
284
Southampton
Thanks @MAMMYGRANNY . Sounds like my husband's obsession is very similar to your husband's. I think I will have to try to speak to the doctor again after Christmas to see if there is any change of medication that would help. Neither he not I can carry on much longer like this because I fear he will eventually cause a major infection.
 

Vitesse

Registered User
Oct 26, 2016
169
Thanks @MAMMYGRANNY . Sounds like my husband's obsession is very similar to your husband's. I think I will have to try to speak to the doctor again after Christmas to see if there is any change of medication that would help. Neither he not I can carry on much longer like this because I fear he will eventually cause a major infection.
My husband has never had obsessions about fleas, (we don’t have pets) but he has plenty of obsessions about other things. He has AD, and I have had nearly two years of various obsessions. At one time, it was washing powder making him itch. I tried every powder on the supermarket shelf, and threw tons of the stuff away!!! Mostly, it’s about his money, someone’s taken it etc etc. Like Hellyg, the doctor prescribed Risperidone and that has calmed him down, We started with a very low dose when required, but have progressed to taking it regularly. It’s my life line!!
 

yorkie46

Registered User
Jan 28, 2014
284
Southampton
Thanks @Vitesse, I think I will have to try asking the doctor about possible medication, I just worry about the side effects of antipsychotics particularly on mobility. He's already very unsteady and I believe they can increase the likelihood of falls. He would also need to be told it would help with the itching otherwise he won't be happy to take them. Something has to be done.
 

Vitesse

Registered User
Oct 26, 2016
169
Thanks @Vitesse, I think I will have to try asking the doctor about possible medication, I just worry about the side effects of antipsychotics particularly on mobility. He's already very unsteady and I believe they can increase the likelihood of falls. He would also need to be told it would help with the itching otherwise he won't be happy to take them. Something has to be done.
I was very worried about the side effects too, and questioned the doctor several times before giving in. The worst side effect for him is that it causes drooling, and he gets distressed about that. He seems to shuffle more than he did, but I have no idea whether that’s his age, illness, or the medication. To be honest, for me it’s a small price to pay for a bit of peace!! He has refused to take the Risperidone from the beginning, so I crush them in his tea. There is also a liquid version which i use on occasions, but that’s quite tricky to measure such small doses.
 

Hellyg

Registered User
Nov 18, 2014
82
Midlands
Thank you @Hellyg for your reply. I have been wondering about an antipsychotic drug but I am aware that there are probably unwanted side effects and I wonder how I would manage these. Can the GP prescribe this sort of medication or would he need referring back to a consultant?
Do you think obsessions are a natural progression of the dementia? I'm wondering if he will ever lose them.

Hi Yorkie46, it was a consultant who prescribed the risperidone, we have stayed under the consultant all along, and she has been very good and supporting.

I haven’t managed the side effects with my husband, difficult to know which are the drugs and which are dementia progression, but they have been increased loss of language (he does have the semantic strain of FTD though), weight gain and apathy, but these drugs do slow down everything in order to have an affect. In addition to obsessions my husband was aggressive, so no real choice but to medicate, in saying that h seems far happier in himself and far less agitated which is a good thing.

Actually reading posts above he did start to shuffle, yet not linked it until now!

Overall worth it as it has kept him calm and it’s saved my sanity.
 
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yorkie46

Registered User
Jan 28, 2014
284
Southampton
Hi @Hellyg
It's good that risperidone has helped your husband and you despite the side effects. Having read more about this I doubt it would be prescribed for my husband. Firstly he is only under the care of the GP. The consultant told us the diagnosis and hadn't seen him since, we get no support from the hospital at all. All the care is down to me and I have to take him to the GP if there is anything I need help with. I have always felt this is wholly unsatisfactory but that's the way it is in my area. The GP listens but just keeps telling me in doing a good job of looking after him. She referred him for a care needs assessment but that also came to nothing because he is still able to manage his personal care needs. He refuses to go to a day centre so he is at home 24/7. Secondly I read a government report which said they discourage the use of antipsychotics in patients with dementia because of the side effects.
I think I might ask the doctor if it's possible to increase the dosage of his sertreline to see if that helps. He's been on the same dose for just over a year now since he was diagnosed.
 

Vic10

Registered User
Feb 18, 2017
102
Hi @Hellyg
It's good that risperidone has helped your husband and you despite the side effects. Having read more about this I doubt it would be prescribed for my husband. Firstly he is only under the care of the GP. The consultant told us the diagnosis and hadn't seen him since, we get no support from the hospital at all. All the care is down to me and I have to take him to the GP if there is anything I need help with. I have always felt this is wholly unsatisfactory but that's the way it is in my area. The GP listens but just keeps telling me in doing a good job of looking after him. She referred him for a care needs assessment but that also came to nothing because he is still able to manage his personal care needs. He refuses to go to a day centre so he is at home 24/7. Secondly I read a government report which said they discourage the use of antipsychotics in patients with dementia because of the side effects.
I think I might ask the doctor if it's possible to increase the dosage of his sertreline to see if that helps. He's been on the same dose for just over a year now since he was diagnosed.
It was our GP who prescribed Risperidone for my OH, however, that meant he also did an urgent referral to the consultant at the memory clinic before it could be put on repeat prescription. The consultant praised our GP saying his decision for the medication was intuitive, the repeat prescription was agreed and OH has been on it ever since and he has had additional appointments with the memory clinic.
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
436
Mid Lincs
It was the GP who prescribed OH's respiridone. He was discharged from the consultant after 6months though they still do a meds review every year.
Again my OH was losing some mobility before he was hospitslised which exacerbated the situation but it's difficult to know if it the medication contributed or not. I have say in all honesty it the Dr hadn't had prescribed it my OH would have been in home by now because his antics brought me to breaking point. He had an obsession he just wouldn't let go of but now he's calm, sweet and compliant and a joy to be with in the main, bless him.
 
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Vitesse

Registered User
Oct 26, 2016
169
It was the GP who prescribed OH's respiridone. He was discharged from the consultant after 6months though they still do a meds review every year.
Again my OH was losing some mobility before he was hospitslised which exacerbated the situation but it's difficult to know if it the medication contributed or not. I have say in all honesty it the Dr hadn't had prescribed it my OH would have been in home by now because his antics brought me to breaking point. He had an obsession he just wouldn't let go of but now he's calm, sweet and compliant and a joy to be with in the main, bless him.
My situation is similar. I had reached the stage where I didn’t think I could cope another day, with obsessions and bad tempers. The low dose of Risperidone helped but didn’t clear the problem and i was at my wits end. We were referred to the Local Mental Health Service nearly two years ago, and without them I would have given up. Our GP is excellent but obviously out of his depth with the dementia, so I feel I am very lucky when I read some of the other posts. He now has regular Risperidone throughout the day, and it gives us both some peace and contentment.
 

yorkie46

Registered User
Jan 28, 2014
284
Southampton
Thank you @Vic10 , @RosettaT and @Vitesse on

My husband was diagnosed by a consultant from the local elderly persons mental health team but since the day he was given the diagnosis we have never seen them again. I was told there was no input or support for him other than from the GP. I have an allocated Admiral Nurse who I did see fairly regularly for a while but that became difficult because my husband didn't understand why I needed to see anyone even though he didn't understand who she was or what her role in was. He kept asking me what we talked about. I haven't seem her since about June though I can contact her if I need to. I'm not sure how much out meetings helped to be honest. She told me her role didn't include seeing my husband so everything she knows about him is from medical records or what I tell her. If I want help with medication it will have to be through the GP. I'll see how things are after Christmas now.