panic attacks with vascular dementia

Dobbin28

New member
Dec 27, 2018
8
I care for my 86 year old Mum who has vascular dementia. She currently has a toilet obsession and spends a lot of time in the bathroom. She has been having severe panic attacks, complaining of central chest pain and saying she cannot get a full breath. We had previously called an ambulance to be told her heart is ok and it is down to panic. She has started getting worse and not listening when I try and calm her gently and can end up shouting and screaming and pushing me away. She takes medications for anxiety and depression and pregablin has now been prescribed. Has anyone else experienced this and have any tips for dealing with it ? Thank you.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,080
N Ireland
My wife suffers from anxiety and depression on top of her dementia and was prescribed Pregabalin a few years ago. The initial dose of Pregabalin didn't deal with the anxiety for long and it had to be doubled.

Obviously the dose will be individual to the person but it may be worth a chat with the GP about that.
 

Toony Oony

Registered User
Jun 21, 2016
510
I have no experience of the medication you mention, however my Mum also has Vascular Dementia and was prone to acute anxiety attacks on a very regular basis. The paramedics were called by her Assisted Housing many times, but an echocardiogram showed a 'perfectly normal' heart for an 88 year old. I can only imagine how hard and upsetting it must be to try and placate your Mum when she experiences this. My Mum went the other way with her very frequent episodes - her depression and anxiety increasing to dramatic levels - she always thought she was dying and was petrified of doing so. Mum was on a cocktail of different anxiety and anti-psychotics, but not the one you mention.
My Mum has been in a CH for 18 months now, and although the anxiety is often present the regular panics have subsided. I hope this new medication will help your Mum and yourself, and that in time the panic attacks subside substantially.
 

Dobbin28

New member
Dec 27, 2018
8
My wife suffers from anxiety and depression on top of her dementia and was prescribed Pregabalin a few years ago. The initial dose of Pregabalin didn't deal with the anxiety for long and it had to be doubled.

Obviously the dose will be individual to the person but it may be worth a chat with the GP about that.
Thank you for your response. Could I ask what dose your wife was prescribed initially and what it had to be increased to in order to control the anxiety. Many thanks.
 

Dobbin28

New member
Dec 27, 2018
8
I have no experience of the medication you mention, however my Mum also has Vascular Dementia and was prone to acute anxiety attacks on a very regular basis. The paramedics were called by her Assisted Housing many times, but an echocardiogram showed a 'perfectly normal' heart for an 88 year old. I can only imagine how hard and upsetting it must be to try and placate your Mum when she experiences this. My Mum went the other way with her very frequent episodes - her depression and anxiety increasing to dramatic levels - she always thought she was dying and was petrified of doing so. Mum was on a cocktail of different anxiety and anti-psychotics, but not the one you mention.
My Mum has been in a CH for 18 months now, and although the anxiety is often present the regular panics have subsided. I hope this new medication will help your Mum and yourself, and that in time the panic attacks subside substantially.
Many thanks for your kind message. I am sorry to hear of your mum also but am pleased to hear that her panic attacks have subsided. It sounds very similar so I do hope we can get the panic attacks under control. Thank you.
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,080
N Ireland
Thank you for your response. Could I ask what dose your wife was prescribed initially and what it had to be increased to in order to control the anxiety. Many thanks.
She is on twice daily X 150mg at the moment and went onto that dose about a year ago.

I think she started on twice daily X 25mg, rising quickly to twice daily X75mg over a few months.

My wife seemed to be over sedated when first started on this med but seemed to build a tolerance over time.

I met my wife about 15 years ago and she had been on meds for anxiety and depression for decades. Absolutely nothing eliminates her anxiety and depression. She is medicated for both and I spend time every day dealing with her feelings. The unfortunate thing is that my 'talking therapy' is something of a waste as it only calms her 'in the moment', because her dementia means that what I say is quickly forgotten. I find it soul destroying but it is what it is and I carry on.

Believe it or not, I was once driven to make up notices saying things like 'RELAX', 'DON'T WORRY', 'EVERYTHING'S FINE' etc., and located them around our apartment. She didn't even notice them - that's dementia for you!
 

Dobbin28

New member
Dec 27, 2018
8
She is on twice daily X 150mg at the moment and went onto that dose about a year ago.

I think she started on twice daily X 25mg, rising quickly to twice daily X75mg over a few months.

My wife seemed to be over sedated when first started on this med but seemed to build a tolerance over time.

I met my wife about 15 years ago and she had been on meds for anxiety and depression for decades. Absolutely nothing eliminates her anxiety and depression. She is medicated for both and I spend time every day dealing with her feelings. The unfortunate thing is that my 'talking therapy' is something of a waste as it only calms her 'in the moment', because her dementia means that what I say is quickly forgotten. I find it soul destroying but it is what it is and I carry on.

Believe it or not, I was once driven to make up notices saying things like 'RELAX', 'DON'T WORRY', 'EVERYTHING'S FINE' etc., and located them around our apartment. She didn't even notice them - that's dementia for you!
Thank you for your reply. Mum is on a
She is on twice daily X 150mg at the moment and went onto that dose about a year ago.

I think she started on twice daily X 25mg, rising quickly to twice daily X75mg over a few months.

My wife seemed to be over sedated when first started on this med but seemed to build a tolerance over time.

I met my wife about 15 years ago and she had been on meds for anxiety and depression for decades. Absolutely nothing eliminates her anxiety and depression. She is medicated for both and I spend time every day dealing with her feelings. The unfortunate thing is that my 'talking therapy' is something of a waste as it only calms her 'in the moment', because her dementia means that what I say is quickly forgotten. I find it soul destroying but it is what it is and I carry on.

Believe it or not, I was once driven to make up notices saying things like 'RELAX', 'DON'T WORRY', 'EVERYTHING'S FINE' etc., and located them around our apartment. She didn't even notice them - that's dementia for you!
Thank you for the information. Mum has been started on 25mg once a day increasing to twice a day and increasing the dose again after a week. It may be a fluke but she has seemed better in the last 3 days since taking it. Much less panicky and even laughed a few times today. I’m really hoping this will continue and relieve the panic attacks. I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. I do understand the struggles with anxiety and depression. We have a family history of it and I suffer myself. Thank you for your help.
 

Ohso

Registered User
Jan 4, 2018
168
Please dont feel l am minimising the attacks, and can offer no insight into prescribed medication however can share my mums experience.
Mum began having panic attacks whenever faced with something unexpected, even the telephone ringing.
I got her some 'Rescue Remedy' spray and that seems to work for her. It may just be a placebo or that it worked once and she now hangs onto that trust to save her from what appears to be very scary for her. It might also just be the diversion of having to concentrate to spray it on her tongue, whatever the reason, the end result is she calms herself and is reassured that if it happens again she has can rely on it.
Plus it gives me something positive to suggest instead of my previous ' calm down, breath slower' which always seemed to have the opposite effect.
 

Dottydaydream

New member
Nov 29, 2017
5
Hi
My mum has panic attacks and is on pregabilin. She recently had her dose doubled as she is getting more anxious. Not sure it's made any difference. Sunday she rang lifeline most of day. Called ambulance twice. Or will ring people all day. I hAve too take phone no away. We are now considering card home as she hates living alone