Psychosis and Paranoia with Alzheimer's

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by SarahL, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Hello, I don't know if anyone can shed any light on experiences with paranoia and psychosis with the disease. My Mum had become psychotic which was why she was sectioned into hospital in the first place. She had her diagnosis of Alzheimer's 3 years ago and I'd struggled for a long time with everything. She's now in a CH (since Dec) and since then and being on her meds, all the abuse and paranoia had gone and she was being loving and warm towards me, which was lovely. However yday when I went in she was in a terribly paranoid state and it really triggered me back to some dark days. I did not know what to do apart from trying to reassure her (it was all about her having an upset stomach last week) but she wouldn't have any of it and insulted me, so I didn't stay long. I asked the nurse and they said they were adding in a new medication to try and allay anxiety but I just wondered if anyone knew if psychosis and paranoia are part of the disease. Mum had these as part of her personality anyway so it could just be that they are inate and not related to the disease. Thanks.
     
  2. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    22,499
    Female
    Near Southampton
    These are, from personal experience anyway, part and parcel of the illness.
    However, they can be addressed and helped with medication.
    In my husband's case this was Rispiridone, an anti-psychotic.
    He was only taking it on a low dose, so I was told anyway, and for around 4 months.
    He wasn't always compliant with personal care at times later on but never had to take it again.
    I hope this helps.
     
  3. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thanks Saffie, the nurse mentioned Rispiridone to me yday so I hope it can help Mum.
     
  4. Jesskle66

    Jesskle66 Registered User

    Jul 5, 2014
    99
    Hi Sarah, paranoia and psychosis are major aspects in my mum's dementia too. Unfortunately one of her paranoid thoughts is that she is being poisoned so in spite of have been sectioned for over 6 months now, she refuses medication and most food. Being under section they have the right to give it to her covertly but have not been successful with any consistency so it still continues. I hope it is just a blip and that your mum will be stabilized soon. It is so utterly distressing to be on the end of and I do find it hard to empathize with my mum because of what is directed at me. Rationally I try to tell myself that none of it is intentional and it is the disease but it is incredibly hard. My heart goes out to you x
     
  5. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Thank you Jesskle. I find it so hard to empathise with Mum too when so much hatred is aimed at me :(. Luckily yday wasn't as bad as I've had it in the past but it brought back horrible memories. I hope she'll be ok soon and also that my sadness lifts as I feel very down today. I really appreciate hearing your experiences and empathise with you knowing you've been through/go through it. It's so hard to separate the rational understanding from the emotions at times isn't it. x
     
  6. Isabella

    Isabella Registered User

    Jan 4, 2014
    106
    My mum was originally diagnosed with a psychotic episode, with psychatriasts insisting she didn't have dementia but instead had some kind of breakdown caused by anxiety. Finally six months later they relented and agreed she had dementia after all. She too is on risperidone and within a few months the delusions etc had gone and she is calm and content again. Hope you have the same outcome.
     
  7. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Good news to hear your Mum is calm again, bet you're relieved. Sounds like it was a difficult route for you to get a diagnosis Isabella. Hope my Mum settles soon too with the drugs.x
     
  8. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Hi, Sarah, it's nice to see you here again. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum's paranoia yesterday when you went to visit. I know things had been going (reasonably) well with her behavior towards you so that must have been quite a shock, and stirred up a lot of stuff for you. (One person I know calls that shaking up of emotions, "stirring the pot," and says that sometimes sludge from the bottom gets stirred up from where it has settled--I quite like that image.) So it must have really dredged up some unhappy and icky memories for you. Bleah.

    I'm sorry, I don't have anything helpful to say about the paranoia/psychosis except yes, I too have read this is part and parcel with the dementia, and I do hope that adjusting your mum's medications will offer some relief, for you both.

    I definitely hear you and Jess on it being hard, very hard, to feel kind and empathetic towards my mother when she's being unpleasant and, often, personally insulting. I almost always manage to behave calmly in the moment but am generally seething inside both then and afterwards. vccfg Oops, that was my cat on the keyboard, sorry! Maybe I'll sign off, on that lighter note!
     
  9. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229

    Hi Amy, good to hear from you again. It was a bit tough on Monday and set me back a bit but I've been in to see Mum again today and she was more upbeat and less attacking of me. Still a bit paranoid and very anxious and agitated but the nurse told me the mental health team are coming in to see her soon on the recommendation of the GP to try and monitor her medication, which is good thing. I actually think she was a manic depressive all her life (now called bi-polar) but as I didn't grow up with her didn't really see it until the last 11 years when I moved near her. Anyway, hopefully things will improve and it makes me realise that she really is in the best place. If she was at home still and calling me 40+ times a day and pacing the house it would be no good for any of us. How is your Mum doing? x
     
  10. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Hi, Sarah, I was off the boards for a few days and just read your post from last week and thought I'd respond.

    How are you, and how is your mother, and if you've seen her since last week, I hope that went okay. It was reassuring to hear that when you saw your Mum last week she wasn't quite as difficult and upset. I do hope the mental health team come to see her soon and maybe a different medication/combination will help. You're right, it would be no good for her to be at home alone, upset, anxious, and did I mention, alone.

    Thank you for asking after my mother. I feel a little guilty confessing that I haven't seen her since Easter. Only a little guilty. My husband has been to see her, though, and he reports that she is doing fine, and maybe even is a little bit more accepting of her situation (being in the care home) and that she even made a comment about how maybe we should sell her place since it didn't make sense to pay for two places. That's convenient, because of course we are cleaning out her place to put it up for sale, to help pay for her care! I realise that all too soon, she won't remember where she lived, but while she does, it would be much nicer to not have her screaming at me that I kidnapped her and sold her home and stole her money et cetera.

    I will see her this weekend and I cannot say I am looking forward to it. I'm always a little on edge about how she is going to behave and just waiting for the nasty comments (always out of earshot of my husband and anyone else), although they are not as bad as they were.

    I do keep in touch with the staff and other than some minor physical things (she has bad arthritis and the weather here hasn't been helpful, so they've been trying to adjust her medications to help with the pain) there have been no problems from their end. So that is reassuring.

    I do wonder about the link with dementia and anxiety, though. For the past 2-3 years my mother has suffered from terrible anxiety, which was new for her (depression in the past, yes, but not anxiety) and now I'm wondering if it wasn't more the dementia and less an actual anxiety disorder. I'm not saying she wasn't anxious, but I wonder if somehow the dementia was causing it. Because ever since the hospital stay in January-February, she has has almost no signs or symptoms of the anxiety. Maybe not being alone and not having to be responsible has relieved it? Or maybe on some level she knew she needed help and now she's getting it? Maybe others have some insight or experience with this?

    Sorry, didn't mean to digress so much!
     
  11. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    229
    Hello Amy

    Thanks so much for your response, sorry for the delay but I have only just read it as been off here for a few days. I am a bit snowed under with loads of university work and my 15 year old daughter... plus went to see Mum on Weds night and the psychiatric nurse told me they think she has schizophrenia due to all the paranoia she's exhibiting. That sent me over the edge for a few days as made me think about all the bad times and she was nasty to me on Weds too which takes me a few days to recover from. I also start to feel guilty as I wasn't always the best to her throughout all of this over the years, partly because I didn't understand what was going on. Got to stop the guilt. Anyway, I went to see her last night and she was a little better and the CH told me the GP had been in and said that hopefully she'll settle down again and they are not going to get the mental health assessment done after all. All very confusing.

    I can completely relate to you feeling anxiety going to see your Mum and not knowing how you are going to be received. It really does affect one's mental wellbeing and produces lots of triggers. It sounds like you are doing the right thing getting your Mum's house sorted and cleared as she'll not be going home and I think once that's done it'll help with the moving-on stage. As much as it pains me, I know my Mum will never be going home now and I will have to start getting her house cleared and sorted too. I'm going to see a solicitor in a week's time to get advice. I wonder if I should do whatyou have done and take a little break from going in as well. I can always ring and get updates like you say.

    It's good to hear your Mum's anxiety has subsided due to not being on her own all the time.. and it's it's interesting she wasn't so anxious before, although she was depressed. As you say she could be better now because she's not alone. My Mum has always been depressed like yours by the sound of things and I'm now wondering if it was her mental health issues that worsened and not the dementia. She definitely does have dementia though as I have even sometimes questioned this due to the combination of other issues. The strange thing with my Mum now though is that she STILL thinks she is alone... and I'm public enemy number one for leaving her 'on her own' - although in other conversations she says it's disgusting I put her in the home. I suppose I'm damned in every which way.... despite being the only one that ever cared for her. Oh well....... isn't life and the disease complicated. Btw, I was also accused of stealing from her and taking away her autonomy etc so I know how that feels, nightmare for you. And isn't it a strange phenomenon of this disease that you Mum says these things out of earshot of your husband - my mum is the same and only aims her venom at me, but is uber nice to others.

    I'm going to try and be positive as just feel so tired with everything. I hope your next visit goes well Amy. xx
     

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