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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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My 68 year old mother has recently developed a strange since

Resolved Question:

My 68 year old mother has recently developed a strange since of paranoia, that seems to be centered around money and related to her providing care to my 92 year old Grand Mother. She's making comments like how people are looking at her funny, the hair dresser is talking behind her back, and even went as far as saying that someone had taken her name off her joint checking account with my Dad (which I showed her was not the case). She's also convinced that she is in trouble somehow over paying my Grandmothers bills.

This is extremely concerning as my Mother has always been very sharp, however the last few years she has battled Kidney Disease, Diabetes and blood pressure issues. In addition to the paranoia, she has developed rapid speech, fidgeting and an occasional uncontrollable movement in her left arm. She's been taken to the ER twice this month because she was convinced she was having a stroke, or that something major was wrong. MRI's, etc did not find a problem. Any thoughts?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.
Hi ctrlgip:

A couple things come to mind. From the tone of your question, it sounds as though you are concerend that dementia is beginning to set in - and you may be (unfortunately) right. Late 60's is a little early, but not unheard of for dementia, and short-term memory loss and paranoia can be two symptoms. Particularly if there is a history within yours/her family tree, this is more likely. A trip to the neurologist will be your first step to begin the evaluation process.

But before you do any of that, there are a couple other avenues which are less invasive, and which have a better prognosis. First, the cocktail of medicatins she is currently taking may have side effects that affect thinking and perception. If it is not the same physician writing all of the scripts, then please consult with the one you like the best, XXXXX XXXXX a list of the meds she is on so that their interactions can be assessed. If this is a medication issue, adjustments may be able to be made which will bring her back.

Second, and this is more of a long short because her bouts with paranoia are not acute (i.e., they are not short duration and bizaare), but when older women develop urinary tract infections, they can sometimes demonstrate psychotic symptoms. I don't think anyone knows exactly the connection, but this is something I have seen somewhat often when I have worked with geriatric population, and ends up with the women in the ER. A round or two of antibiotics later, they are good to go.

Best of luck. If it is dementia, please accept my sympathy. But know this: despite dementia (and its later stage, Alheimer's) being incurable and progressive, there are medications available which will slow the deterioration. Agian, the neurologist will help guide this process.

If you are satisfied with the answer you have been given, please hit “ACCEPT” so that I may get credit.


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