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The sticky topic of sedation

Lainey 127

Registered User
Nov 25, 2012
216
Liverpool UK
Morning to everyone,
Can I ask about the use of sedatives and sleeping pills please? Mum's GP has prescribed low dose diazepam but only for use occasionally when Mum is having a difficult time with anxiety and lack of sleep. He gives Mum 7 tablets a month. He explained that they cannot give them on a regular basis because of the risk of falls etc and I understand completely.
However when I talk to Mums morning carers and to the district nurses who call, they tell me a different story. It seems some dementia sufferers take sedatives every day and they're used routinely in care homes when residents behaviour becomes disruptive.
I wonder if taking diazepam daily would benefit Mum? She's 92 and has mid-late stage mixed dementia but she suffers from terrible anxiety and violent hallucinations every day; some days she's too scared to get out of bed in the mornings and she screams loudly for 12 hours or more. Her eyes are wild with fear and it's dreadful to witness....I wonder if a mild sedative each day would help? I should add that Mum is being cared for 24/7 in her own home by my sister and I.
Thanks all!
 
Last edited:

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,069
Scotland
Morning to everyone,
Can I ask about the use of sedatives and sleeping pills please? Mum's GP has prescribed low dose diazepam but only for use occasionally when Mum is having a difficult time with anxiety and lack of sleep. He gives Mum 7 tablets a month. He explained that they cannot give them on a regular basis because of the risk of falls etc and I understand completely.
However when I talk to Mums morning carers and to the district nurses who call, they tell me a different story. It seems some dementia sufferers take sedatives every day and they're used routinely in care homes when residents behaviour becomes disruptive.
I wonder if taking diazepam daily would benefit Mum? She's 92 and has mid-late stage mixed dementia but she suffers from terrible anxiety and violent hallucinations every day; some days she's too scared to get out of bed in the mornings and she screams loudly for 12 hours or more. Her eyes are wild with fear and it's dreadful to witness....I wonder if a mild sedative each day would help? I should add that Mum is being cared for 24/7 in her own home by my sister and I.
Thanks all!
If you gave her the diazepam everyday would she be noticeably better? If so and the doctor will not give her anything more to relieve these awful symptoms then I would be looking at another opinion. Is it a group practice where you can ask for a different doctor? At her age I think she needs to feel safe and not anxious and afraid.
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,524
North East England
My mam takes 2mg of Lorazepam a day, spread over the day in four half-milligram doses. She is noticeably calmer, happier and simply a nicer person once each dose 'kicks in'. She is not in the least 'drugged up'. No-one would know that she's had calming drugs.

We have asked several times for the dose to be increased but the consultant refuses and the only explanation given for this decision is the danger of falling, which like you we do understand.

But each dose only helps mam to be happier for around an hour or so, so she still spends much of her time being aggressive, bewildered, confused and angry. We get frustrated because not only is this horrible for us (mainly my dad), but must be awful for mam.

I wish the consultant could come and spend a few days with my mam, to see what she's truly like at home. Maybe she would then think the increased risk of falls was worth it to ensure a calmer life for my poor mam and dad.

I do hope you can get another opinion and help your mum to have a better quality of life.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,420
66
Toronto, Canada
The problem with benzodiazepines, which both lorazepam and diazepam are, is that they can create a physical dependence.

My mother was very physically aggressive and violent and we had to resort to anti-psychotics, in addition to other drugs. Using anti-psychotics has its own dangers but, if carefully monitored, can be a life-changer for the person and the family. Anti-psychotics are definitely not recommended for the elderly but you have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. My mother has been on one anti-psychotic for over 10 years now and we are just gradually weaning her off them for good.

Using them is very individual but we have had a positive experience while others have not.

My mother now is only given lorazepam which she is having her teeth cleaned.
 

cragmaid

Registered User
Oct 18, 2010
7,941
North East England
Hi, Is it possible that Mum is suffering pain, real or imagined? If she can take them, try giving her a couple of paracetamol, or a spoonful of junior paracetamol syrup and see if it makes a difference.:)
 

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